Range anxiety is one of the most often stated fears of prospective electrical vehicle buyers but as time goes on it is becoming increasingly obvious that range is improving all the time and the tasks that electric vehicles can undertake are getting more and more impressive.
One such example was a recent test that has been trumpeted by Mercedes-Benz trucks, with one of its new e Actros 300 prime movers tackling a run over one of Europe’s great mountain passes with a 40 tonne GVM.
The eActros 300, which recently had its premiere at the IAA Transportation 2022 Expo in Hanover, successfully crossed the Arlberg Pass in Austria fully laden to 40 tonnes covering the total distance of 111km, including Bludenz, Stuben, St. Anton and Lech, reaching an elevation of more than 1,800 metres.
The test engineers from Mercedes-Benz Trucks subjected the eActros rig to tests to validate its performance and durability, with a special focus on energy recovery through recuperation.
Clearly with the the alpine topography of the Tyrol there are some stern climbs and some equally steep descents allowing for plenty of battery recuperation.
Mercedes says that during recuperation, energy gained during braking was returned to the eActros’ batteries and is then made available to the drive unit fo climbing. They claim the electric prime mover unit was able to recover a total of around 180 kWh of energy. At the end of the demanding test, which meant that about 40 per cent of the energy was still available.
Stina Fagerman, head of sales, marketing and services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks said the prime mover version of the eActros 300 expands the application options of the eActros for heavy-duty distribution transport.
“The intensive tests in Austria have shown our electric truck can reliably fulfill its tasks, even in a particularly challenging topography with extreme uphill and downhill grades,” Fagerman said.
In total, the electric semi-trailer climbed 2,300 meters in altitude during the test – the maximum grade was at 13 per cent. On the way to the test area, the truck’s batteries were only charged at public charging stations.
Mercedes says that the series production launch of the eActros 300 semitrailer tractor is planned for the second half of 2023.
The company said that its eActros heavy-duty distribution truck, which has been rolling off the assembly line at the giant Wörth am Rhein plant since October 2021, has already undergone a number of severe alpine and other tests in the lead up to its launch.
They say that the truck has already been put through its paces in a number of tests, with near-series production e-trucks crossing the Alps in the South Tyrol, claiming to have climbed a total of 54,000 metres in elevation during the tests. The trucks reached the highest point during measured runs on the Kaunertal Glacier at 2,750 meters.
Meantime in other tests at Granada in Spain, the eActros completed summer tests in temperatures of up to 45°C, while they say it has also it has proved itself in the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi in Finland, tackling snow and ice in frosty temperatures down to -25°C.
Mercedes says the eActros 300 prime mover can pull all standard European semi-trailers, and is based on the same technology as the eActros 300/400.
The truck can be equipped with three battery packs, each with an installed battery capacity of 112 kWh, enable a range of up to 220 km on a single battery charge. The technological heart of the electric truck is the drive unit, an electric rigid axle with two integrated electric motors and a two-speed gearbox.
The two liquid-cooled motors generate a continuous output of 330 kW and a peak output of 400 kW. The eActros 300 tractor can be charged with up to 160 kW with its three battery packs needing a little more than an hour to be charged from 20 to 80 percent at a standard DC fast charging station with a charging current of 400 Amp the company claims.