Karin Rådström, CEO Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

Karin Rådström, CEO Mercedes-Benz Trucks prepares to drive an eActros electric truck on its first leg of an ambitious new tour of Europe.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz Trucks

Two new eActros 600 prototype trucks have set off from Frankfurt am Main, Germany on an 8,000-mile tour of Europe. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is hailing the trip as the most extensive battery-electric truck test run in its history. Mercedes-Benz completed a similar European evaluation run last year.

The two battery-electric, long-haul, cabover trucks will travel through more than 20 countries on the test run. Each truck is hauling 40 tons of total towing weight in trailers behind them.

Mercedes-Benz CEO  Behind the Wheel

Dubbed the “eActros 600 European Testing Tour 2024,” Mercedes-Benz said the goal of the drive is ambitious. The two electric flagship eActros 600s will drive to, and through northernmost and southernmost points in Continental Europe: The North Cape in Norway and Tarifa in Spain.

The tour started unofficially at Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ location in Wörth am Rhein and Daimler Truck AG’s headquarters in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. There, Karin Rådström, CEO Mercedes-Benz Trucks, took a turn at the steering wheel of one of the eActros trucks for the first few kilometers.

“I would like to thank our engineers who are embarking on the journey with the eActros 600,” Rådström said after her drive. “The vehicle technology for the transformation is ready. Battery-electric long-distance transport in Europe is possible. Now politics and the energy sector must work together in collaboration with OEMs to push forward the build-up of public charging infrastructure.”  

Mercedes-Benz engineers expect the tour to give them valuable experience with electric trucks on a wide range of routes, climates and geographic conditions. One primary goal will be to study the energy consumption of the trucks on the test run.

Public Charging Only

Mercedes-Benz said the eActros’ feature high battery capacity of more than 600 kilowatt hours and a new, efficient electric drive axle developed in-house. These features give the trucks a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) without intermediate charging.

The intention is to charge the batteries exclusively at public charging stations during the tour.

The trip will head through Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg.

A New eActros Design

According to Mercedes-Benz Trucks, around 60% of long-distance journeys for its customers in Europe are shorter than 500 kilometers. This, the company said, means charging infrastructure at the depot and at the loading and unloading points is sufficient for most fleets.

For all other uses, continual expansion of public charging infrastructure is vital in order to make the electric truck viable for long-distance haulage across Europe.

In addition to CCS charging with up to 400 kW, the eActros 600 will later also enable megawatt charging (MCS).

In April this year, developers from Mercedes-Benz Trucks successfully charged for the first time a prototype of the eActros 600 at a charging station with an output of one megawatt at the in-house development and testing center in Wörth am Rhein.

A Mercedes-Benz eActros truck on the road in Europe.

Mercedes-Benz engineers expect the eActros European tour to give them valuable experience with electric trucks in a wide range of routes, climates and geographic conditions. 

Photo: Mercedes-Benz Trucks

Mercedes-Benz said that as soon as MCS technology becomes available and is standardized across manufacturers, it is planned to be retrofittable for these early models of the eActros 600.

According to the OEM, the eActros’ batteries can be charged from 20% to 80% percent in about 30 minutes at a suitable charging station with an output of around one megawatt.

Visually, the long-haul e-truck is characterized by a new design with clear lines and an aerodynamic shape.

Mercedes-Benz added that the eActros electric truck was designed to replace the majority of diesel trucks in the important long-haul transport segment in Europe.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ concept is to offer its customers electric fleet solutions consisting of vehicle technology, consulting, charging infrastructure and services.

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