Mercedes eTruck: The 1st Urban Electric Big Rig

July 29, 2016

With almost no roar, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Urban eTruck prototype this week in Stuttgart, Germany.

This purpose-built all-electric heavy duty truck is meant for short-range routes common in city deliveries, trash hauling, and urban-regional freight distribution, where lower speeds are acceptable and noise is a problem.

The almost silent Urban eTruck is configured somewhat like a conventional heavy-duty three-axle distribution truck, with a front cab and 2-axle frame. From there, ‘conventional’ stops.

Instead, the entire conventional drivetrain is being replaced by a new electrically driven rear axle with 167 horsepower electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. This configuration is already in use on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid bus. Each motor has a peak torque of 369 lb-ft. Mercedes says that, when combined with the gearing of the vehicle, torque at the wheel hits 8,113 lb-ft. The motors recover energy under braking.

Power is supplied by a 212 kilowatt-hour battery pack made up of three separate crash-proofed lithium-ion battery modules that sit low and run right down the middle of the chassis frame from the cab to just before the middle axle. battery pack consisting of three lithium-ion battery modules. All together, the battery pack module gives the eTruck a 124-mile range on one charge. Recharging the eTruck using the high-voltage DC charging system should take just two or three hours.

The Urban eTruck has a payload capacity of 29 tons, easily comparable to conventional diesel vehicles in its task-class. But, unlike the diesels, the Urban eTruck doesn’t smoke, produce toxic emissions, and speaks softly while carrying a big load.

The Urban eTruck won’t be available until 2020, but as large cities cracking down on pollution and planning ultra-low emissions zones, the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck already has a niche to fill.