In the US, Mercedes means high end passenger cars. But Daimler, the parent company that owns Mercedes Benz, is also heavily involved in the medium and heavy duty truck business both here and abroad. In addition to its Mercedes Benz truck division, Daimler also owns Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses. Mercedes has just announced it is in talks with 20 companies interested in testing its Urban eTruck electric truck for a year. During those 12 months, Mercedes will monitor all aspects of its Urban eTrucks to learn more about how they perform in the real world and how they can be improved.
The Urban eTruck was unveiled at the 2016 International Commercial Vehicle Show. It has a range of up to 120 miles, a payload of 12.8 tons and a gross vehicle weight of up to 25 tons The test vehicles will be equipped with either a refrigerated or dry box body. A platform load bed is also available. The prospective customers are in the trash hauling business and the freight distribution sector.
Mercedes will build only a few trucks at a time. The testing will reveal any design weaknesses that need to be addressed in either the structure, the powertrain, or the software systems. Full scale production is scheduled to begin by 2020.
Stefan Buchner of the Mercedes Benz truck division says, “2017 will now be our year of implementation. Step by step, we are developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.” In addition to the Urban eTruck, Daimler will also offer the Fuso eCanter light-duty electric truck to 150 selected customers in Europe, Japan and the United States.
The light duty eCanter electric van has already completed two real world trials and is substantially upgraded with more power. Customers can select a range of battery packs from 70 kWh to 100 kWh, depending on their needs and budget. The eCanter is also configurable to suit the needs of a diverse customer base that includes trades people, florists, delivery companies and others.