Benz eActros enters second European test phase

Netherlands-based logistics company to run Mercedes-Benz eActros with fridge van daily from depot to supermarkets

Benz eActros enters second European test phase
The Mercedes-Benz eActros on supermarket rounds in the Netherlands.


Mercedes-Benz has announced the starting signal for the second test phase of its eActros "innovation fleet" following approximately a year of intensive practical use by 10 customers in Germany and Switzerland.

Eight of the purely battery-powered trucks will now be placed are with new customers in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Mercedes-Benz says they also will put the eActros through its paces in tough everyday transport operations for about a year.

The other two vehicles will continue the operational testing with customers in the first test phase.

Netherlands-based logistics services company, Simon Loos, will receive the first eActros of the second phase.

"We started the practical test of our eActros in September 2018 and have already covered hundreds of thousands of kilometres electrically," says Andreas von Wallfeld, Mercedes-Benz Trucks‘ head of marketing, sales and service.

"The findings from the first phase have made a valuable contribution to the planned start of series production next year. We are now testing our electric truck for its suitability in everyday use with new customers from various sectors in Germany and abroad.

"We are delighted that we can announce the start of the second wave of customers with Simon Loos."

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Simon Loos is using an eActros equipped with a Schmitz Cargobull refrigerated box for the Albert Heijn supermarket chain. The daily tour of the eActros starts at Albert Heijn’s regional distribution centre in Delfgauw in the province of South Holland. From there, the e-truck supplies supermarket stores in various cities in the region, including Rotterdam, The Hague and Delft, with dry goods and fresh, temperature-controlled food.

The eActros will run seven days a week, covering around 200km every day in locally CO2-neutral operation. The batteries will be charged overnight and in between routes at the distribution centre in Delfgauw, where Albert Heijn is currently constructing a square with multiple fast-chargers.

In preparation for the test, experts from Mercedes-Benz Trucks gave the Simon Loos drivers special training in the use of high-voltage systems.

"We have been gaining experience with alternative drive systems in our fleet since 2014," says Wim Roks, fleet manager, Simon Loos.

According to Mercedes-Benz, one of the many findings gained during the practical tests in the first test phase is that the range of the eActros of approximately 200km has proven to be absolutely realistic – regardless of load, route or topography.

Benz says the eActros is in no way inferior to a conventional diesel truck in terms of availability and performance in urban traffic, on highways or on overland routes. The cooling system for the cargo and the air-conditioning system – both electrically operated – functioned without any limitations in both extreme heat and winter conditions.

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Mercedes-Benz says drivers are reportedly very pleased with the continuous availability of torque across the entire speed range. It adds that they also mentioned the truck’s quietness in operation and the pleasant, smooth driving experience.

Furthermore, if the truck is driven with foresight, electrical energy can be recovered through recuperation, i.e. motor braking. It is then rarely necessary to use the brake pedal.

The cool swap body of the eActros used by Simon Loos is the W.KO COOL model from Schmitz Cargobull, which is said to have optimised insulation for the energy-efficient transport of refrigerated goods, its robust construction ideal for intensive daily use.

The purely electrically operated refrigeration unit is completely emission-free in use and is specially designed for distribution transport.

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The eActros is based on the chassis of the Mercedes-Benz Actros. In addition, however, Benz says the vehicle’s architecture is completely geared to electric drive and has a high proportion of specific parts.

Two electric motors close to the rear-axle wheel hubs provide drive with an output of 126kW each and a maximum torque of 485Nm each. This results in 11,000Nm each after the transmission ratio, which Mercedes-Benz says provides a performance equivalent to that of a conventional truck.

Lithium-ion batteries with 240kW/h supply the energy for the eActros. Depending on the available charging power, the batteries are said to be fully charged within two hours (at 150kW).

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