Touted by Mercedes-Benz Trucks as the most economical long-distance truck under its banner, the new eActros 600 is set to be unveiled on October 10.
Mercedes-Benz’s new battery-electric model designed for long-distance haulage features a new design and a new name. The eActros 600 is the series version of the previous eActros LongHaul, with the name derived from the battery capacity in kilowatt hours.
Three battery packs provide the eActros 600 with an installed total capacity of over 600 kWh in series production and two electric motors as part of the new e-axle generate a continuous output of 400 kW as well as a peak output of over 600 kW.
In addition to the prime mover model, Mercedes-Benz Trucks will also produce rigid variants of the eActros 600 at market launch.
Development engineers at Mercedes-Benz Trucks are designing the eActros 600 so that the vehicle and its components meet the same durability requirements as a comparable conventional heavy long-distance Actros. That means 1.2 million kilometres on the road over a period of ten years.
The batteries used in the eActros 600 employ lithium-iron phosphate cell technology (LFP) for long service life and more usable energy. The developers of Mercedes-Benz Trucks aim for the batteries of the production eActros 600 to be capable of being charged from 20 to 80 per cent in well under 30 minutes at a charging station with an output of about one megawatt.
The high battery capacity and a new, particularly efficient electric drive axle developed in-house enable a range of around 500 kilometres without intermediate charging. Thanks to its low energy consumption, the e-truck, marketed as the “new eActros 600”, is intended to be the most economical long-haul truck from Mercedes-Benz Trucks for customers compared to the conventional diesel Actros.
Since the first appearance of the electric truck as a concept prototype at IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover, further test vehicles have been built at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth – with central components coming from the Mercedes-Benz plants in Mannheim, Kassel and Gaggenau.
Prototypes of the vehicle were put through their paces during winter testing in Finland at the beginning of the year. A fleet of around 50 prototype vehicles is currently being built, which is also planned to go into practical testing with the first customers, which is the next step.
At the same time, the four plants are preparing for series production of the eActros 600, which is expected to begin in 2024.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks Australia Pacific vice president, Andrew Assimo, said, “We’re thrilled to see the amazing eActros 600 prime mover will soon hit the road in Europe. We will certainly be testing eActros prime movers locally in the near future and will be able to provide more details about them closer to their introduction.”
Karin Rådström, CEO Mercedes-Benz Trucks says the eActros 600, produced in Wörth, will be able to replace the majority of diesel trucks in the long-haul segment, “As it sets new standards in terms of cost-effectiveness for our customers.
“It also offers huge potential for reducing CO2 emissions. I am convinced that this truck will define the new benchmark in road freight transport.”
Head of Global Powersystems Operation at Daimler Truck, Yaris Pürsün, added, “With the eActros 600, the focus of production at our Mercedes-Benz Powersystems plants in Mannheim, Kassel and Gaggenau is shifting more and more to e-mobility. We therefore started to make preparations at an early stage by setting up a production and technology network of competence centres for electric drive components and are already in the midst of preparing for series production of the new generation of our power units.”
The eActros 600 will be produced on the existing assembly line at the Wörth production plant, alongside the brand’s diesel trucks. The electric drive components will also be installed at the site.
The e-axle, high-voltage batteries and the front box, a complex technology module, are mounted in several production steps.
Once all high-voltage components have been installed, the entire system is put into operation and the truck is ready to go.
In order to optimally prepare for series production, the production start-up team has been working closely with the developers. Mercedes-Benz Trucks says this ensures that the experience gained from the construction of the prototypes is incorporated into the further development of the vehicle. Currently, the prototype vehicles are being built on the assembly line as close to series production as possible.
The component plants at Mannheim, Kassel and Gaggenau are currently undergoing the process of shifting away from diesel technology to become competence centres for electric drive components.
The Mercedes-Benz plant at Mannheim, the leading plant for commercial vehicle engines, draws on the more than 25 years of experience of the site-based Competence Center for Emission-Free Mobility (KEM) and focuses on battery technologies and high-voltage systems. The front box is being built for the eActros 600 in Mannheim – both in the prototype phase and in subsequent series production. It is a complex, assembly-intensive module for battery-powered vehicles with which the former installation space of the combustion engine is used efficiently.
Several control units, high-voltage components as well as the electric air compressor are brought together in the front box – the assembly of all individual components, from frame preparation to the high-voltage tests of these units, is carried out at the Mercedes-Benz Mannheim plant.
The Mercedes-Benz Gaggenau plant, which specialises in heavy-duty commercial vehicle transmissions, is currently developing into a competence centre for electric drive components.
Since 2021, important parts for the electric axle of the eActros 300/400 for distribution haulage and the eEconic have been manufactured in Gaggenau. Essential components of the new e-axle generation which will propel the eActros 600, will also be produced in Gaggenau. These are mainly mechanical parts, similar to the ones Gaggenau has been producing for vehicles with conventional powertrains for many years: Transmission components such as shafts and gears as well as housing parts, which Gaggenau delivers to Kassel, where the complete assembly of the axle and transmission components takes place.
The e-axles are assembled at the Mercedes-Benz Kassel plant, the competence centre for conventional axles and electric drive systems. The new e-axle generation for the eActros 600 was specially developed for use in long-distance haulage. It has a number of technical innovations for higher performance and efficiency. Its architecture is also based on a system designed for 800 volts instead of 400 volts. The Kassel plant is currently in the prototype phase of e-axle assembly for the eActros 600.
For the start of series production, a new assembly line will be created, including test and inspection stations for the functional and safety-related features. As is the case with the e-axle, which is currently used in the eActros 300/400 and eEconic, and which is already manufactured in Kassel, the “common parts principle” also applies to the new generation. This means that the body axle as well as the wheel end and brake components originate from the conventional axle, which the Kassel plant has been manufacturing for over two decades. The components are produced in a highly flexible manner on the conventional assembly line, so that the plant can vary between conventional and electric axles depending on orders.
The team is also undergoing training for electromobility. In Wörth alone, around 2700 employees have already been trained at the in-house training centre for handling high-voltage vehicles and components.