October 10, 2023

Mercedes-Benz Trucks eActros 600 foreshadows next Freightliner eCascadia


Even as the second-generation Freightliner eCascadia begins arriving in U.S. fleets, the battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eActros 600 foreshadows a purpose-built electric truck destined for North America in mid-decade.

A conventional cab typical for long haul on wider U.S. highways is a given. The Actros 600 revealed in Germany on Tuesday underpins the next Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) flagship. Some of the 50 eActros 600 prototypes will go into fleet trials in Europe this year. Series production begins in late 2024. An eActros 600 prototype appeared at the 2022 IAA Transportation event in Hannover, Germany.

The truck took its name from its battery capacity of 600 kilowatt hours that allows 311 miles (500 kilometers) of driving range on a single charge. With a 45-minute intermediate charge, the truck exceeds 1,000 km a day. Such a range improvement would broaden freight possibilities for the eCascadia, which offers a typical 230-mile range on a single charge.

Development engineers recently completed a test run of a prototype loaded up to 40 tonnes (88,144 pounds) from Stuttgart — via the steep rise to the Swabian Jura mountain range at Aichelberg, Kufstein and the Brenner Highway — to Bolzano in South Tyrol. The truck covered 530 km (329 miles) in seven hours with no intermediate charge.

The eActros anticipates megawatt charging (MCS), offering preinstallation for MCS pending adoption of an industry standard. With megawatt charging, the eActros state of charge rises from 20% to 80% in about 30 minutes. Standard Combined Charging System (CCS) of up to 400kW more than doubles the charging rate of most current Class 8 electric trucks. 

The exception: The purpose-built Tesla Semi charges at 750kW.

Mercedes-Benz phasing out diesel-powered trucks by the end of the decade

Mercedes-Benz Trucks anticipates the eActros 600 replacing most of the 472 diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks it builds a day at Woerth Am Rhein in southern Germany. In North America, Freightliner expects 30% of its medium- and heavy-duty trucks to operate on batteries by the end of the decade.

The world’s largest truck maker plans to offer only carbon-neutral trucks in the U.S., Europe and Japan by 2039.

The eActros gross combination weight (GCW) of 44 metric tons weighs in at 97,000 pounds, well above the maximum 82,000 GCW allowed in some states. But the overall heavier weight of electric trucks could bring regulation changes by the time the next eCascadia arrives. The eActros standard payload is 22 metric tonnes or 48,500 pounds.

During a pre-reveal walkaround of the eActros at the Woerth plant in September, plant manager Andreas Backhover said the electric truck would be integrated on the 3,280-foot production line with diesel models. Key components come to Woerth from other Daimler plants in Mannheim, Kassel and Gaggenau, Germany.

The Mercedes-Benz Truck eActros 600 underpins the next Freightliner eCascadia. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Trucks)

‘Transformation of road freight transport’

“The eActros 600 stands for the transformation of road freight transport towards CO2-neutrality like no other truck with a three-pointed star,” Karin Rådström, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said in a news release.

The cabover design is common to Europe but less popular in North America. The eActros front hood is completely closed, slightly arched and rounded off. Extended end flaps resemble sails. Air deflectors on the A-pillars, rubberized insets and a sealed motor compartment add to aerodynamics. Even the three-pointed star is closed from behind.

The eActros 600 structure is purpose-built for electric components. Three 207kW battery packs mounted from below sit in front of twin electric motors flanged to an electric axle. The placement of the four-speed transmission clears room for the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. They are expected to last for 1.2 million km (745,000 miles). After that, the batteries should still have 80% of their life for nonautomotive use.

Daimler Truck’s GenH2 sets single hydrogen-fill-run record

Actros 600 boosts electric truck range with new battery chemistry

Daimler Truck pledges carbon neutrality in key markets by 2039 — with caveats

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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