Mercedes Benz has developed an all-electric urban truck with a range of 200km, using the brand’s tri-axle 26 tonne platform.

The e-truck sees the conventional drivetrain replaced by electric motors alongside the rear wheel hubs, powered by three lithium battery cells.

Daimler has goals to release the technology in the next decade following its electric truck trials in the light distribution sector in Fuso Canter E-Cells over the past three years.

According to Daimler Truck and Bus head Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, electric trucks are a key focus.

“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. 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,” Bernhard said.

“In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. And with the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving.”

With some European cities like London and Paris already considering bans on internal combustion engines in city centres, fully electric trucks would fill the void created by such laws.

Until recently an electric future seemed uneconomical because of the high cost and low range of batteries. However, Daimler expects to see cheaper and more efficient cells in the coming 10 years.

Mercedes Benz Trucks boss Stefan Buchner says the project will implement charging infrastructure to make the e-trucks a viable option.

“We are underlining our intention to systematically developing the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity. 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,” Buchner said.