In August, two eSprinter operated by Austrian Post (Österreichische Post), the country’s major provider of postal services, were equipped with integrated fine particle filters in the front module, designed to reduce particle emissions. Since then, the all-electric vans have been out and about in Graz every day and have now covered a total of almost 6.400 km on their delivery routes.
Mercedes-Benz Vans, together with Austrian Post, is testing the filter technology developed in cooperation with MANN+HUMMEL in real-life operations. The technology was first introduced in October 2021 with the SUSTAINEER (SUSTAINABILITY PIONEER) technology platform from Mercedes‑Benz Vans. Further results from the test operation are expected in mid-2023.
Graz. Air quality is a key factor for urban quality of life. However, CO2 emissions and fine particles above all are having a negative impact on people, the environment and the climate. In order to reduce fine particle pollution and to gain a comprehensive understanding of effectiveness, weather influences and durability in real-life operation, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Austrian Post and MANN+HUMMEL launched a pilot project in August. For this purpose, two eSprinter production vehicles operated by Austrian Post were equipped with integrated fine particle filters in the front module. Since then, the two eSprinter have been out and about in Graz city centre. They complete their routes in weekly rotation, thereby determining representative values for the fine particle concentration via the fine particle sensors installed.
First results after three months
On their daily tours, the all-electric vans travel an average of 60 km each. The routes lead from the postal logistics centre in Kalsdorf to the city centre of Graz and back. On a tour, each of the two eSprinter delivers an average of 160 parcels and stops just under 100 times.
After inspection and examination of the filters by the filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL, it can be determined that the filters are undamaged and without deformation. Since the start of the pilot project, the eSprinter have been in use for almost 60 days and have each filtered around 6.400 milligrams of dust from the ambient air.
This makes it clear, after just a few weeks of test operation, that the use of the filters in this urban delivery situation is a suitable use case. The fine particles are filtered out close to the source, i.e. where the concentration level in the city is highest.
In addition to the durability of the filters, the pilot project will also analyse the effects on the vehicles.
The durability of the filters was confirmed by pressure loss measurements and a load condition of 15 percent was determined. So far, there are no restrictions in operation and in order to gather further insights, the pilot project will run until mid-2023.
The Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA) in the German city of Duisburg is providing scientific support for the project. The filters are regularly checked on site by Mercedes-Benz Vans and filtration specialists Mann+Hummel.
The initiative fits seamlessly into Austrian Post’s smart overall concept, known as “Green Graz”. Since November 2021, the Austrian postal fleet in Graz has been exclusively using all-electric vehicles for the delivery of parcels, letters, advertising mail and print media, ensuring that these are delivered with zero local CO2 emissions. In this way, the measures taken by the Austrian Post contribute to a reduction of CO2 and noise emissions in the city. The pilot project is intended to show how these successes can be further optimised. By 2030, Austrian Post plans to use only all-electric vehicles for deliveries throughout the country. Since spring of this year, the only additions to the fleet have been all-electric delivery vehicles.
Already presented in the SUSTAINEER in 2021: front module and underbody filters improve air quality
The technology for this pilot project comes from the development of the Mercedes-Benz Vans technology platform SUSTAINEER. The SUSTAINEER shows how the electrified commercial transport sector can contribute to liveable cities and resource conservation. The technology platform presented at the end of 2021 is equipped with two fine particle filters to compensate for tyre, brake and asphalt abrasion. The state-of-the-art filter technology was developed in cooperation with the filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL, and compensates for fine particle emissions in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle, down to a particle size of ten micrometres (PM10). The effectiveness of the filtration increases further with higher levels of particulate matter in the environment. This means that in urban areas with poorer air quality, far greater quantities of particulate matter can be filtered out.
The filter integrated in the front module of SUSTAINEER is currently being tested in a pilot project with Austrian Post. It filters fine particles out of the air, working in combination with the suction fan already in the vehicle. In this way, it not only improves the air quality by using the airstream, but can also filter out fine particles from the outside air at low driving speeds, and during the charging process. In addition, the vehicle is equipped with a fine particle sensor that measures the fine particle concentration in the air and can control the filtration performance accordingly. This means that the vehicle can also be used as a mobile measuring station. The filter elements can be easily removed and replaced during the annual service.