On Wednesday, July 27, the German automotive company Daimler unveiled the concept of an all-electric delivery truck at an event in their hometown of Stuttgart: the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck.
Daimler, which is Mercedes-Benz parent company, stated that thanks to advancements in alternative power technologies, the idea of an all-electric big rig was no longer a thing of the future.
Wolfgang Bernard, the head of the Daimler Trucks & Buses division, expressed his enthusiasm for the changing times that would allow them to make their electric truck project a reality shortly.
The Urban eTruck announcement comes as a big surprise from the German auto tycoon, as their shift to electric has been notable in the past for Mercedes vehicles, but had not been as prominent within their line of trucks.
The long-haul vehicle is currently just a concept and a prototype, but with the decreasing charging times and prices of electric power tech, the eco-friendly truck from Mercedes is expected to be on the market as soon as 2020.
The Urban eTruck is an all-electric multipurpose semi-trailer truck conceived as a medium-weight working vehicle for urban settings. Mercedes has designed a big rig with a considerable total weight of 26 tons, or 29 U.S. tons, capable of traveling up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) with a single charge.
Regarding design, the light distribution truck sported a black and white camouflage paint job in the prototype revealed by Mercedes earlier this Wednesday. It is currently unknown if this aesthetic choice will stick with future models.
The first-of-its-kind heavy duty hauler compensates its standard range by averaging nearly 65% more cost effectiveness in power compared to its combustion-engine counterparts.
Moreover, the newest electric truck by Mercedes will be fueled by a starting 212kWh of electrical energy provided by three separate lithium-ion battery modules, which can be increased upon acquiring more battery modules.
100kW of charging power will be the standard for the eTrucks, as they come equipped with Combined Charging System Type 2 connectors.
With current electric power fast-charging technology, a full recharge to get the Urban eTruck up and running would take around 2 to 3 hours.
However, a 250 percent increase in power effectiveness is expected to be achieved in electric batteries by the time the Germany-based auto company starts manufacturing their newest truck.
World premiere: Today a new generation of Daimler electric trucks will mark a new era in eMobility #DaimlerETrucks pic.twitter.com/iAVcFsUedz
— DaimlerTruckBusVan (@Daimler_CV) July 27, 2016
An Electrifying Future
The latest announcement by Daimler and its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz comes as part of the most recent wave of alternative energy news.
As the world seeks for solutions to the ever-rising temperatures and concerns about climate change, the 90-year-old company aims to contribute their grain of sand. The Urban eTruck joins the race for the all-electric big rigs market, as the unveiling has beaten Tesla Motors to the punch ahead of their upcoming announcements for heavy duty vehicles.
Following Tesla’s phase, two reveal of their “Master Plan” just last week, the future of transport trucks seems to be aiming towards accessible emissions-free vehicles.
Elon Musk, CEO of the San Francisco-based automotive company, announced online and at a later official event that his next ventures would comprise the expansion of his sustainable energy empire and the fleet of Tesla vehicles.
The South African entrepreneur plans to introduce further electric cars into the mainstream market, including SUVs, pickup trucks and, most notably, semi trucks.
The endearingly baptized Tesla Semi was just part of the announcement, and it was said to be in early stages of development, with official unveilings and further info on the project to be revealed as soon as next year.
Mercedes, the world’s second most prolific truck manufacturer, will not only compete against Tesla in the electric cars front but also in the autonomous vehicles rising market. Google has been reportedly working on its driverless electric car for quite some time, as development and testing of the vehicle have ended up in several incidents.
Mercedes Urban eTruck: 26 tonne, zero CO2, only 700kg less payload #DaimlerETrucks pic.twitter.com/NoT8doZaEj
— Truck&Business (@trucknbusiness) July 27, 2016
Moreover, recent reports claimed that Apple was finally reactivating its mysterious “Project Titan,” the tech giant’s electric automobile project rumored to launch around the same time the Urban eTruck will hit the streets.
In addition to this industry-wide shift in favor of electric and autonomous technologies, the American automaker Ford has also brought new toys to the playground.
After the partial launch of their 2017 models, Ford recently stated that their entire latest vehicle lineup would support the communications and entertainment platforms Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It seems like a lot to catch up with while both Mercedes and Tesla work on their respective freight trucks, but luckily their expected launch dates give them plenty of time to adjust to the times. Hopefully, autonomous driving safety regulations will be in place by the time Mercedes-Benz’s Urban eTruck makes its electrifying debut in cities all over the world.