A prototype of the Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 has already passed its baptism of fire. With 40 tons in luggage, the electric truck covered 530 kilometers from Stuttgart to Bolzano (South Tyrol) without stopping to charge. That’s impressive enough, but it becomes even more impressive as soon as you consider the topography of the route. Because it led over the Swabian Alb, the Irschenberg and then up the Brenner. When climbing with a heavy backpack, the range shrinks and the heat generated by the battery and the load on the drive train increases.

The eActros 600 has passed this stress test and at the same time reduced the range anxiety that is omnipresent in the transport industry to absurdity, at least to a certain extent. The eActros only had to charge once and covered over 1,000 kilometers. An aerodynamically designed driver’s cabin, which also visually distinguishes the Mercedes-Benz Stromer truck from its diesel brothers, helps with the range. The energy for this continuous use comes from three battery packs, each with 207 kilowatt hours, which provide a total capacity of 621 kWh. Lithium iron phosphate cell technology (LFP) batteries are used as energy storage devices, which are so robust and durable that they can run for up to 1.2 million kilometers and then still have a battery condition of over 80 percent. What also makes these batteries so suitable for truck operation is the fact that over 95 percent of the existing capacity can be used, thus enabling greater range.

But they also have to be filled at some point. It is currently possible to fill the energy storage units with a maximum of 400 kW in the eActros. As soon as a standard for megawatt charging is established, Mercedes-Benz Trucks will follow suit and offer a retrofit package for the eActros. Then recharging from 20 to 80 percent only takes around 30 minutes and fits perfectly into the obligatory break. In addition, according to Mercedes-Benz Trucks, 60 percent of European customers travel less than 500 kilometers on long-distance journeys. This also has an impact on the charging infrastructure, which is essential for the use of e-trucks. The trucks can often then fill the batteries for the next tour when loading and unloading at depots or container ports.

Propulsion is provided by two efficient electric motors or a new e-axle with 600 kW / 816 HP peak and 400 kW / 544 HP continuous output. Five recuperation levels are available to fill energy back into the energy storage. One-pedal driving is also included. The electric power is necessary because the Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 is designed for a total weight of 44 tons. With a standard trailer the payload is around 22 tonnes. If necessary and permitted by law, more weight is also possible. “The eActros 600 is characterized by state-of-the-art drive technology that can offer very high energy efficiency and therefore profitability for our customers. This makes entry into e-mobility particularly attractive for fleet operators,” says Karin Rådström, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. But in the logistics industry, calculations are carried out with a particularly sharp pen and every cent counts.

The eActros costs around two and a half times as much as the diesel version. As a rule, the service life of a truck is around five years or 600,000 kilometers. In order for electric vehicles to make up for the price disadvantage compared to diesel engines, they have to be on the road as much as possible. But even in the electric world, the day only has 24 hours and (charging) breaks are mandatory. So the operating costs and, above all, the price of electricity as well as the lowest possible truck toll are decisive for profitability. It should also not be forgotten that electric motors require less maintenance than a combustion engine drive.

The eActros can be ordered this year and the first models will roll off the production line at the end of 2024, both as a tractor unit and as a platform chassis variant. This means that various possible uses can be realized. That’s why Mercedes-Benz Trucks has developed two different power take-offs for the eActros 600. The electric direct or alternating current power take-off, in which an inverter converts the direct current from the high-voltage network into alternating current. This means that refrigerated trucks or refrigerated trailers can be operated. The electrical-mechanical power take-off is ideal for hydraulic or mechanical equipment such as tipper semi-trailers, walking floor or silo trailers.