German automotive giant Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Trucks will soon begin building a prototype of its battery-electric eActros truck for heavy-duty distribution haulage at its Wörth manufacturing facility, with series production due to start in 2021.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks announced this week that, under its “Now & Next” banner, a number of new products will begin production at its Wörth plant in the west of Germany, including the prototype version of its battery-electric eActros truck, which is apparently “close to the series-production vehicle and gives a very tangible impression of the future model.”
Series production of the eActros truck is expected to begin in 2021 at the Wörth plant, one of the world’s largest truck assembly plants with a history dating back well over 50 years.
“I’m delighted that we will be building the first generation of the Mercedes-Benz eActros here at Wörth,” said Matthias Jurytko, Head of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth.
“The start of series production next year is an important milestone for the plant and the region. We are expanding the portfolio of the Wörth plant and taking another positive step in the direction of CO2-neutral transport.”
Mercedes-Benz Trucks was the first manufacturer worldwide in 2016 to present a heavy-duty electric truck, revealing its design at the International Motor Show. Two years later, at the beginning of 2018, the company debuted its fully redeveloped eActros and, since the latter part of 2018, the truck has been undergoing intensive practical trials with customers.
The eActros prototype has a range of around 200-kilometres and, according to the results of its real-world prototype testing, “it is in no way inferior to a conventional diesel truck when it comes to availability and power delivery.”
According to Mercedes-Benz Trucks, “Drivers are visibly impressed by the continuous availability of the torque across the entire speed range. They also mentioned in particular the pleasant and smooth driving experience.”
Boasting two electric motors near the wheel hubs of the rear axle to provide the drive, each of which delivers an output of 126kW and 485 Nm maximum torque, the eActros is powered by 240kWh lithium-ion batteries and can be charged in as little as two hours (depending on available charging output).
Series production of the eActros will reportedly be “significantly superior to the existing prototype in a variety of areas, such as range, drive power and safety” and will be available at launch as a two-axle and a three-axle model.
When the eActros enters series production at the Mercedes-Benz Wörth plant, it will be assembled alongside trucks with conventional drives in what the company describes as “a flexible process.”
However, the eActros will not be fully completed on the same assembly line as, according to Mercedes-Benz Trucks, “The installation of various non-conventional drive components will take place in a separate process, as will the assembly of the electric powertrain for the eActros.”
The completion of the specific “non-conventional drive components” necessary for the battery-electric eActros will apparently take place in the production hall in building 75 of the Wörth plant, which has been undergoing conversion work to be able to construct all of the electrical architecture of the eActros.
“At the site, preparations are in full swing to get our production ready for the demands associated with electric drive systems,” Jurytko said. “For example, we are currently training our future specialists in the field of high-voltage systems – a fundamental area of expertise as far as the assembly of automotive batteries and the construction of electric trucks is concerned.”
Importantly, all of Daimler Trucks & Buses’ German and European manufacturing plants will be carbon-neutral by 2022, being supplied with “CO₂-neutral energy by 2022” and with all other plants set to follow soon after.
The Mercedes-Benz eEconic, designed specifically for municipal use and based on the eActros, is intended to follow the eActros into series production beginning in 2022.