Two Actros tractors and eActros in production next month: Mercedes-Benz product update21 September 2021

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has launched two new tractor models, the Actros F for economy and Actros L for premium. In addition, it has provided an update on its plans for battery-electric vehicles.

Its short-haul eActros battery-electric vehicle enters full-scale production in Wörth from October 2021 is set to be followed by the eEconic for municipal use in the second half of 2022.

The eActros LongHaul with a range of around 500km is scheduled for series production in 2024, while the GenH2 Truck with hydrogen-based fuel-cell drive system is due in 2027 and will offer a range of 1,000km or more. Both are intended to make locally CO2-neutral road haulage possible even for long-haul transport operations.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks boss Karin Rådström said that the company plans by 2030 to have about half of its sales be made from zero-emission vehicles. The company said that it aims to switch its portfolio completely to electrically powered trucks by 2039.

The company says that the The Actros F, launched by Mercedes-Benz Trucks in January 2021, is intended for hauliers who are looking to add a functional truck to their fleets but don't necessarily need all the innovations present in the most recent Actros generation. It is available in 17 different model designations, and is said to be ideal for operation in classic and regional haulage, particularly as a swap body vehicle, dump truck or silo transporter. The newly designed cab in the StreamSpace or BigSpace variants has a 2.5-metre width and 120-mm engine tunnel height offering access using three steps. Optional equipment highlights include the multimedia cockpit and the intelligent cruise control and transmission control system Predictive Powertrain Control. In terms of safety, the Actros F is equipped as standard with the fifth-generation emergency braking system Active Brake Assist (ABA 5) and Lane-keeping Assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

The Actros L is set for full-scale production in November 2021, and is the biggest and highest quality vehicle of the successful Actros model range. The lack of engine tunnel means that the cab has a flat floor. The improved cab noise insulation reduces unwanted noise; the seating position has been optimised; there are new LED headlamps and access to many operator assistance systems.

The eActros, designed for heavy distribution haulage, has been trialled by customers in Germany and other European countries for two years. At the technological heart of the eActros is the drive unit with two integrated electric motors along with a two-speed transmission. Depending on the version, the eActros draws its power from three or four battery packs – each with a capacity of around 105 kWh. The maximum capacity of 420 kWh enables ranges of up to 400km to be achieved. Range was determined internally in optimum conditions, for example with four high-voltage battery modules, after preconditioning, partially-laden in distribution haulage without a trailer and at an outside temperature of 20°C.

The eActros can be charged with up to 160 kW: the three battery packs need a little over an hour to charge from 20 to 80 per cent at a normal DC rapid charging point with a charging current of 400A. A display in the standard interactive multimedia cockpit of the eActros keeps the driver up-to-date on the charge level of the batteries and the remaining range, as well as the current and average energy consumption in kWh per 100 kilometres. Its standard safety equipment includes the external Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System for improved acoustic detection for example by pedestrians and cyclists, not to mention the Sideguard Assist S1R system for enhanced safety when turning off to the nearside, and the fifth-generation Active Brake Assist with pedestrian detection.

The next milestone in the portfolio of electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Trucks will be the series-produced eEconic, scheduled for the second half of 2022. Intensive testing is still underway at present, after which the vehicle will move on to practical trials with customers. One customer has already opted for the eEconic. Danish waste management company Urbaser has already placed an order for 11 vehicles. The key technical specifications of the eEconic are largely identical to those of the eActros, the company says. The eEconic as a waste collection is designed to cover the vast majority of typical waste collection routes operated by an Econic in a single shift without intermediary charging. The electric drivetrain enables a level cab floor to be implemented. There is also a multimedia cockpit and a coated and heated Thermocontrol windscreen also prevents weather-dependent misting of the screen.

The battery-electric eActros LongHaul, scheduled to go into production in 2024, is designed to cover regular journeys on plannable routes with a range of around 500 kilometres on just one charge in an energy-efficient manner.

Finally, a completely new generation of trucks with a drive system based on fuel cells and hydrogen is on its way in the form of the GenH2 Truck. Hauliers should be able to use the vehicle for flexible and demanding trips of up to 1,000km and more without the need to stop and refill. The performance of the vehicle is comparable to that of a conventional diesel truck thanks to the use of liquid hydrogen, which has a far greater energy density than hydrogen in gaseous form. After intensive testing of the further developed prototype being carried out by Mercedes-Benz Trucks since April 2021, the first trials on the open road are due to start before the end of the year. Customer trials are scheduled for 2023 and from 2027 the first series-produced GenH2 Trucks will be handed over to customers.

Digital services support the vehicles. For example, the telematics services from Fleetboard allow intelligent networking of drivers, truck, fleet and assignments.
The Truck Data Centre is the centrepiece of Fleetboard and serves as the basis for other vehicle connectivity solutions. The connectivity module receives the data from the sensors, cameras and steering devices in the truck and analyses these for a range of applications. The Truck Data Center not only forms the basis for Fleetboard’s numerous services, but also for Mercedes-Benz Uptime, the service for consistent increases in vehicle availability. The intelligent system comprises all relevant vehicle data – from tyre pressure to the engine, and now to the battery status too. In this context, Mercedes-Benz Uptime has been extended by more than 100 e-specific rules which constantly monitor charging processes for example, or voltage history associated with the high-voltage battery. In addition, the information is available via the new cloud-based customer portal.

They are even informing finance. The Mercedes-Benz CompleteMile service contract. Like Mercedes-Benz Complete, the flexible service contract encompasses all workshop work including wear parts, but its concept is different: the monthly rate depends on the number of kilometres actually driven.

Also, “My TruckPoint by Mercedes-Benz” adds plenty of value where all existing service contracts and the current vehicle status are concerned. This new digital platform offers a full overview of contracts, quotes, orders for parts, inspections and maintenance, proving to be a useful fleet management tool.

Extra optional driver assistance systems on the Actros L include Mercedes-Benz Sideguard Assist S1X, which, compared with the previous system S1R, is equipped with a further function that could potentially save lives. The new system, called Active Sideguard Assist, no longer simply warns the driver of moving pedestrians or cyclists on the co-driver’s side. If the driver then fails to respond to the warnings in time, it is now able to initiate an automated braking manoeuvre at turning speeds of up to 20 km/h to bring the vehicle to a standstill. Using various vehicle and sensor signals, Active Sideguard Assist can recognise the need for such a braking intervention and, in an ideal scenario, prevent a potential collision.

Another example, also available as an option for the Actros L, is the second-generation Active Drive Assist (ADA 2). Under certain preconditions the system actively assists the driver with longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck and can automatically maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead, accelerate and also steer if the necessary system conditions such as sufficient curve radius or clearly visible road markings are met. In addition, ADA 2 includes the Emergency Stop Assist sub-function which is able to initiate an emergency stop if the driver is no longer controlling the steering wheel despite visual and audible warnings.

One feature designed specifically for the eActros and the eEconic is the external Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). Background: the low noise levels of these vehicles may in some cases lead to dangerous situations, for example if pedestrians or cyclists notice the electric truck too late. The acoustic warning system should prevent such hazardous situations from occurring. AVAS comprises two speakers – one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle. They are connected with one another and with the vehicle. Depending on the driving conditions, sounds for driving forwards and reversing are played. The forwards noise simulates a quiet fan noise, while in reverse, an intermittent two-tone sound is emitted.

Transport Engineer

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