After two years in development, Mercedes-Benz Trucks has publicly unveiled a long-range version of its eActros freight truck in prototype form at IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover, ahead of customer testing by Amazon and Rhenus next year.
The LongHaul truck was originally announced back in 2020, and the concept prototype reveal at the IAA expo this last weekend – where it received a 2023 Truck Innovation Award – follows the market launch of the Mercedes eActros short-range electric freight hauler last year.
Back in June, the company reported that the first prototypes were undergoing “intensive testing” ahead of trials on public roads. This will be followed by near-production prototypes undergoing real-world testing from potential customers like Amazon and Rhenus from next year.
Series production is expected to start in 2024, with tractor-only and rigid variants available, and it will be the first all-electric series production vehicle from the company to be wholly manufactured on the existing assembly line at the production facility in Wörth am Rhein.
The 40-ton tractor boasts a per-charge range of 500 km (~310 miles), which Mercedes reckons should meet the vast majority of long-distance freight transportation needs. That’s not going to match the upcoming Tesla Semi though, but the addition of an electrified trailer packing its own battery pack could bump the LongHaul’s range to more than 800 km.
The truck’s batteries are compatible with megawatt charging, which the company reckons will allow its three LFP (lithium-iron phosphate) battery packs totaling over 600-kWh – chosen for their “long service life and more usable energy” – to be topped up to 80% capacity in “well under 30 minutes.”
In the EU, truck drivers are required to take a break of at least 45 minutes for every 4.5 hours on the road, so this window could prove useful for topping up along routes. And it should get easier to find appropriate charging stations in Europe following an agreement by Mercedes Truck, the Traton Group and the Volvo Group to establish high-performance public charging points for long-distance transport.
Other details are still to be announced, but we do know that the freight hauler sports a new e-axle that incorporates two motors for 400 kW of continuous output (more than 600 kW peak). The truck has also been designed to offer the same kind of service durability as conventional heavy long-distance Actros models, which translates to being good for 1.2 million kilometers (more than 745,000 miles) on the road over 10 years.
The eActros LongHaul is part of a wider ambition by Daimler Truck to have some 60% of its new-vehicle sales in EU30 markets made up of CO2-neutral models, and then onward to 100% in Europe, Japan and North America by 2039.
“We are continuously expanding our portfolio of battery-electric trucks,” said Karin Rådström, CEO of Mercedes-Benz 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.”