Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the European division of commercial vehicle maker Daimler Truck, has unveiled its latest innovation in the field of battery-electric long-haul trucking: the eActros 600. This truck, which is expected to start production in late 2024, promises to deliver a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) without intermediate charging, a payload capacity of 22 tons (48,500 pounds), and a gross vehicle weight of 44 tons (97,000 pounds). The eActros 600 is designed to meet the same durability and performance standards as its diesel counterparts while also reducing CO2 emissions and operating costs.
The Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 is powered by three battery packs with a combined capacity of 621 kWh, which use lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cells. This type of battery chemistry is said to offer high energy density, long cycle life, and low degradation. According to Daimler Truck, the batteries can retain more than 80% of their original capacity after 10 years or 1.2 million kilometers (745,000 miles) of operation. The batteries can be charged at rates of up to 400 kW using a CCS charger or up to 1 MW once the technology becomes available and standardized across manufacturers. At the latter rate, the eActros 600 could recharge from 20% to 80% in just 30 minutes.
The batteries supply power to an electric drive axle that consists of two electric motors and a four-speed transmission. The motors can deliver a continuous output of 400 kW (536 hp) and a peak output of 600 kW (804 hp). The transmission is specially developed for heavy-duty long-haul transport, allowing optimal efficiency and performance at different speeds. The eActros 600 also features two power take-offs, one mechanical and one electric (AC or DC), which can be used to power auxiliary equipment such as refrigeration units or hydraulic pumps.
The Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 is based on the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros truck but with several modifications to improve aerodynamics, safety, and comfort. The front of the truck is completely closed and rounded off, with LED headlights and a large Mercedes star. The cab design is said to be 9% more aerodynamically efficient than the current Actros cab. The truck also has extended end flaps, air deflectors on the A-pillars, underbody paneling, and a roof spoiler to reduce air resistance and increase range.
The eActros 600 is equipped with various sensors that provide a 270-degree view of the truck. These sensors feed data to electronic driver-assist features such as forward and turning collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and detection of pedestrians and cyclists. There is also a lane change assist that monitors the length of the trailer and can steer the truck back into its original lane if the driver fails to notice a vehicle in the adjacent lane.
The interior of the eActros 600 features Mercedes-Benz's Multimedia Cockpit Interactive 2 cabin architecture, which consists of two digital displays that show relevant information such as battery charge level, energy consumption, driving mode, navigation, and entertainment. The driver can also access various functions and settings via touchscreens or voice control. The eActros 600 also offers a high level of comfort and convenience for long-distance trips, with features such as air suspension, climate control, adaptive cruise control, leather seats, and a spacious sleeping area.
The Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 is a technological breakthrough and a sustainable and economical solution for long-haul trucking. According to Daimler Truck, the eActros 600 can achieve CO2 savings of around 40% compared to a comparable diesel Actros, based on the current European electricity mix. This figure rises to as high as 80% over the entire product life cycle of 10 years if charging is done fully with renewable energy.
The eActros 600 also offers lower operating costs than diesel trucks, thanks to reduced fuel consumption, maintenance, and toll fees. Daimler Truck estimates that the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the eActros 600 will be on par with or lower than that of diesel trucks by the time it enters production in late 2024. The company also plans to offer various services and solutions to support customers' transition to electric mobility, such as consulting, financing, charging infrastructure, energy management, and fleet optimization.
The Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 is not the only electric truck in the market or in development. Tesla, for instance, announced its Semi truck in 2017, which claims to have a range of up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) and a payload capacity of up to 36 tons (80,000 pounds). Tesla has delayed the production of its Semi several times, and the latest estimate is that it will start in 2022. Other competitors include Volvo Trucks, Scania, MAN, Hyundai, and Nikola, which are also working on electric or hydrogen fuel cell trucks for various segments and applications.
However, Daimler Truck is confident that the Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 will be a game-changer in the long-haul trucking industry, as it combines the proven quality and reliability of Mercedes-Benz with the innovation and efficiency of electric mobility. The Mercedes-Benz company has already built around 50 prototype vehicles of the eActros 600, which are undergoing practical testing with European customers. The feedback from these tests will be used to refine and optimize the truck before it goes into series production. The eActros 600 is expected to be available in selected markets in Europe, North America, and Asia by 2025.