The world's largest truck maker on Wednesday unveiled what the company called the first fully electric truck capable of delivering heavier cargo loads.
Daimler Trucks said that its Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck features a pack of three lithium-ion battery modules that enables a range of up to 200 kilometers. Officials said that would be sufficient to accommodate a typical delivery tour through an urban area without recharging.
"Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks," Daimler board member Wolfgang Bernhard said in a statement. "Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck."
Daimler Trucks began conducting customer trials of the Fuso Canter E-Cell in 2014, but that electric truck features a weight of up to 6 tons. The Urban eTruck can weigh up to 26 tons.
Company officials said that they plan to develop electric drivetrains along with increasingly automated and connected driving systems, and that the commercial launch of a heavy-duty electric truck could happen at the beginning of the 2020s.
The ability to deliver heavier loads without emissions, they added, will become more important as large cities — particularly in Europe — weigh restrictions on combustion engines to reduce local pollution and ease climate change.
"With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically developing the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity," said Mercedes-Benz Trucks head Stefan Buchner. "This means that we will begin to integrate customers, so as to gain valuable joint experience with respect to the operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations."