A sense of tradition returned to Hannover, Germany, this morning as the world’s largest truck show — IAA Transportation — opened following a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Karin Radstrom, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said at the outset that safety, efficiency and comfort are the three cornerstones of Daimler’s truck design, reiterating the global manufacturer’s priority to listen to customer feedback in the development of its products, “no matter what country”.
Daimler is showcasing its portfolio of fully electric vehicles here, including the heavy-duty, battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eActros longhaul truck, presented to the public for the first time. Three battery packs provide an installed total capacity of over 600 kWh, and two electric motors — part of a new e-axle — generate a continuous output of 400 kW and a peak output of more than 600 kW.
It also secured the IAA’s Truck Innovation Award.
The eActros LongHaul meets the same durability requirements as a comparable conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros, Daimler says. That’s 1.2 million kilometers on the road over a period of 10 years. Series production is planned for 2024.
“We are continuously expanding our portfolio of battery-electric trucks. Our focus is on offering clear advantages to our customers. Therefore, our electric trucks are specifically designed for e-mobility, giving them better drivability, energy efficiency, and durability,” Radstrom said. And the work involved more than electrifying diesel trucks. “We had to make a truck which is really designed to be electric from the start.”
Daimler has adopted lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which promise more range, longer service life, and more durability. They also support megawatt charging, which means the batteries can recharge from 20% to 80% in well under 30 minutes.
“We know that about 60% of longhaul trips in Europe are shorter than 500 km, so many customers can do their job without needing any public charging,” Radstrom said. That mean they can recharge a truck when it returns to home base. But for those who need charging on the road, Daimler, Volvo and Traton are connected in a joint venture to develop public charging infrastructure.
But even though Daimler’s press conference highlighted the battery-electric offerings, the OEM didn’t discount fuel-cell-electric trucks.
“We are still convinced we need both electric and fuel-cell trucks for a zero-emission future — in order to have enough green energy, but also because fuel-cell will be better for longer and more demanding routes,” Radstrom said.
By 2039, Daimler Truck wants all its new vehicles in Europe, Japan and North America to be CO2-neutral when measured from “tank to wheel”.
One of the most improved technologies on two of the Mercedes trucks on display — the MirrorCam – is not yet legal in North America unless matched to a traditional mirror.
“One of the most visible improvements on the Actros L is the mirror-cam,” says Stina Fagerman, head of marketing, sales and services. “Its camera arms have been shortened by 10 cm. It has now nearly the same perspective as normal mirrors, and that’s good because it’s making driving backwards even easier. Being shorter, collisions with objects at the edge of the road are now very unlikely. The tone mapping of the cameras has also been improved, meaning: the displays show contrast better than before. This helps a lot when driving the in the dark.”