Mercedes-Benz eTruck trials begin

Kleinserie 2017: vollelektrischer Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck im Kundeneinsatz. Technische Daten: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, Exterieur, Silver Arrow metallic, dreiachsiger Verteiler-Lkw, 2 x 125 kW, 2 x 500 Nm, 3 Module Lithium-Ionen-Batterien, Gesamtkapazität: 212 kWh, elektrisch angetriebene Hinterachse, Reichweite: bis zu 200 km, zul. Gesamtgewicht: 25 t, Zuladung 12,8 t, schwerer Verteilerverkehr, flüsterleise und emissionsfrei, Testflotte ; Small series 2017: all-electric Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck for customer trial. Technical Data: Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, Exterior, silver arrow metallic, three-axle short-radius distribution truck, 2 x 125 kW, 2 x 500 Nm, 3 modules of lithium-ion batteries, total capacity: 212 kWh, electrically driven rear axle, operating range: up to 200 km, permissible gross vehicle weight: 25 t, heavy-duty truck, zero emissions, quiet as a whisper and with a payload of 12.8 t, test fleet.;

The Urban eTruck has begun trials in Germany in an area of short-radius distribution.

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Team CV

The world’s first all-electric heavy-duty truck is set to go into limited production later this year. The trails of this truck have begun in the German market before being rolled out to cities across Europe. First shown at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover last September as the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, the trails are in the area of short-radius distribution. It was on the sidelines of the Hannover show that Daimler sources claimed that the etruck would go into production sooner than later. Daimler has committed to putting the etruck into small scale production, with a build number initially in double figures. To be aimed at customers from different sectors in Germany and throughout Europe, the Urban eTruck has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 25-tonnes, and is claimed to have a range of up to 200 miles depending on the load and operational conditions. According to Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide, the company is currently talking to around 20 potential customers from the waste, foodstuffs and logistics sectors. “Following the world premiere in September 2016 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show the customer reaction was outstanding. With the small series, we are now rapidly taking the next step towards production. By 2020 we want to be on the market with the series generation,” he said.

With a payload of 12.8-tonnes, the Urban eTrucks will be deployed in real-life transport situations claim Daimler Sources. They point out that Daimler is looking at getting a customer feedback on how the etruck performs; on the measure of the performance of the etruck in a real-time working environment. The parameters that will be closely managed as well as observed will be the charging time, battery life, range and system configurations. Interestingly, the demo trucks, say Daimler sources, will be equipped with reefer, box and platform bodies. The etrucks will be handed over to customers along with a special charger which takes into account the increased demands on a truck. Customers would use them for a period of 12 months. During this period, Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ road testing department will support them. Said Buchner, “When it comes to future technological issues, 2017 will be our year of implementation. We are step-by-step developing the vehicles and systems to achieve market maturity.”

Fuel consumption and emission standards

A comparison between trucks made across tightening Euro emission standards has revealed startling results.

Story by: Team CV

Mercedes-Benz Actros - 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Actros

The BSVI emission standard in India is three years away. It is comparable to the Euro6 emission standard, that came into force in Europe in 2014. As the Indian commercial vehicle industry warms up to the enforcement of BSIV emission standard pan-India by April 2017, and BSVI by mid-2020, a comparison of trucks in Europe has revealed how they have performed in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions as they progressed through the Euro emission standards. A comparative test drive certified by the test organisation Dekra in August 2016 saw three Mercedes-Benz trucks from 1996, 2003 and 2016 respectively being put through their paces on the demanding and universally recognised test circuit of the commercial vehicle magazine ‘Lastauto Omnibus’ in Germany.

The test circuit, a long distance route from Stuttgart to Hamburg and then to Stuttgart, has been used by Mercedes-Benz to carry out in-house test drives. ‘Lastauto Omnibus’ carried out an independent and exhaustive test drive under the watchful eye of Dekra. Dekra took part in this three-generation truck comparison as an independent test organisation. The test verification was particularly appropriate because the positive development in the fuel consumption of heavy trucks is currently under constant scrutiny by politicians. The test was structured to measure the on-road fuel consumption and mileage according to the test manager Frank Zeitzen. They included test vehicles that have been identically prepared as far as possible, and with highly experienced truck test journalists at the wheel. The test drivers took turns behind the wheel after each test round, and the semitrailers were changed every day. Doing this ensured the trailers being towed were used the same number of times by each tractor (prime mover). This would eliminate any difference in the rolling characteristics.

Mercedes-Benz Actros - 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Actros Mercedes-Benz Actros - 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Actros

Mercedes-Benz Actros - 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Actros 

Attention to detail

The semitrailers were identically loaded and had the same tyres. For the three-generation comparison, three box semitrailers were loaded to an identical 32-tonnes. They were fitted with the same tyres. To reflect the progress made in rolling characteristics, the basic Mercedes-Benz SK 1844 truck from 1996 was shod with the then popular Michelin XZA/XDA tyres of size 295/80-22.5. The second test truck, the Actros 1846 (from 2003) was fitted with tyres from the Michelin Multiway family, in size 315/70-22.5. The latest Actros 1845 Euro VI truck was fitted with factory-fresh Michelin tyres in size 315/70-22.5. Where the mileage of the test vehicles is concerned, the new Actros Euro VI truck was at a slight disadvantage. With just over 8000 km on the clock, it was not yet quite run-in. The best fuel economy thanks to minimised resistances within major assemblies is normally to be expected after around 50000 km. The Actros 1846 Euro3 (from 2003) used in the test was thoroughly run-in at 55000 km. The 20 year-old, Euro2 Mercedes-Benz SK 1844 had an odometer reading of 610,000 km. The cruising speed and overshoot, and undershoot times for downhill and uphill gradients were defined and monitored by the recording personnel. Conventional cruise control was used to ensure a consistent cruising speed for the two older trucks. In the latest Actros this was taken care of by the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) system. Six measuring rounds of 256 km were absolved on the test circuit. The test drivers changed vehicles after each measuring run, and the 32-tonne trailers were also exchanged in accordance with the assigned driver. Every evening the vehicles were refuelled under precise, temperature-compensated conditions.

Attention to detail

The highly precise test preparation and execution proved to be of much practical relevance. Especially when one would consider that the test would be held on a comparatively demanding circuit when compared to the classic Stuttgart-Hamburg-Stuttgart test route used by Mercedes-Benz to measure trip consumption. The test procedure banked upon what the participants would call as the ‘Vecto’. By ‘Vecto’ they meant ‘Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool’. Major input data was measured and subsequently processed using a calculation tool officially provided by the European Commission. The test course to be used was defined by the representative of European long-distance operations in a very involved process. For example, the aerodynamic drag of every single cab variant of a truck model was measured on the road by independent test organisations. The same applied to the rolling resistance of tyres. Tyre manufacturers were called to demonstrate the rolling characteristics of their product lines. For example, different sizes, substructures and tread patterns. Where the powertrain consisting of the engine, transmission and drive axles were concerned, the manufacturer was called upon. The same was the case with the cab.


Mercedes-Benz Actros - 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Actros – 20 years of fuel savings; September 2016

The outcome

At the end of the test, it was revealed that despite drastically more stringent emission standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates, the fuel consumption of heavy trucks has gone down by 22 per cent over the last 20 years. The model 1844, certified according to Euro2 standard valid in 1996, was allowed to emit seven grams of NOx per kilowatt hour (kWh) while staying within the limiting value of 0.15 g/kWh for particulate matter. The number and size of the soot and other particles was not prescribed. The Actros 1846 (of 2003) was certified according to emission standard Euro3, with five grams of NOx per kilowatt hour (kWh) and 0.10 g/kWh of particulate mass. The latest-generation EuroVI Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 betters the older Euro3 truck by 94.3 per cent (NOx, present limit 0.4 g/kWh) and 96 per cent (0.01 g/kWh) for particulate mass. The current measuring conditions are far more stringent. Daimler sources claim that the (22 per cent) reduction in fuel consumption has resulted in savings of more than 50 million tonnes of CO2 by Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe since 1996. They draw attention to how the calculation is done, and on what parameters. They add, sales of around one million Mercedes-Benz trucks in the segment of long-distance transport in Europe between 1996 and today, as well as a conservative estimate for the annual mileage of 75000 km per vehicle, and a service life of eight years led to this estimation. The current fuel consumption per 100 km measured during the certified Dekra test run for the years 1996, 2003 and 2016 is extrapolated on a linear basis for the other years.

Against a background of drastically reduced emission levels in the ‘traditional’ pollutant categories, the actual on-the-road consumption for the test covering 1536 km on a demanding topography with a test weight of 40 tonnes turned out the following results: The 20 year-old Mercedes-Benz SK (model 1844) reached a figure of 40.8-litre per 100 km. The Actros 1846 Euro3 truck consumed 37.4-litre per 100 km, and the Euro6 Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 consumed a meagre 31.9-litre per 100 km. All this, over an identical route and distance. Interestingly, the exhaust emission reduction from Euro2 in 1996 to the current Euro6 has been a drastic 96 per cent.

CVs make for an interesting read

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Adil Jal Darukhanawala’s book, Mercedes-Benz Winning makes for an interesting read, both in terms of the brand’s sporting history and its journey in India.

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Team CV

The commercial vehicle history in India is highly fragmented. It is, in fact, far too fragmented to be put together in an interesting tale that would provide an image of how the hardy machines contributed towards the development of the country. A detailed narration of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle journey in India comes as a valuable trove of information therefore in Adil Jal Darukhanawala’s book, Mercedes-Benz Winning. The book, depicting the journey of the iconic German brand beginning 1885 when Carl Benz built the world’s first automobile, a three-wheeler, propelled by an internal combustion engine fuelled by Gasoline, begins by subtly narrating the rise of support trucks at sporting events. The narration presents an idea of how the support trucks contributed to the success of Mercedes-Benz sports cars. A clearer mention of the support trucks begins with a chapter in the book, ‘Form follows Function – Scientific art of a transporter’. Beginning with an explanation that the transporters were born out of the need for fast cars to have a supremely fast back up and support, Adil has mentioned in a highly interesting way the need for a series of race car transporters felt by the then Mercedes-Benz race team administrator Alfred Neubauer. The book mentions that the first in the long line of fast car transporters was the 24/100/140 supercharged tourer based on the very first design by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche for Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1924. Also mentioned is the building of a race car transporter in 1954 besides a winning Grand Prix machine that looked like it could race itself! By 1930s, and in-line with the rise in car sporting activities, lorries like the Mercedes-Benz Lo 2750 came to be a reliable transporter of race cars across Europe. Each truck could carry one W125 or a W154/163.

The Indian connection of Mercedes-Benz and its winning ways begins with a description of how the maharajas of various states, connoisseurs of good food, art and automobiles among others worldly thinks, took to them. Described in the book is the arrival of the first Benz Viktoria in Delhi in 1887 as per the Benz & Cie records. The book goes on to highlight the Indian leg of the star’s journey with the picture of a truck from the 1930s (a Lo 2000 model) being serviced in 1952. This particular truck was employed by a transport firm in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, and logged over 1.5 million km! Adil has aptly stated that the commercial vehicle bit of Mercedes-Benz started on a smaller scale in India; with an initial order of two units of Lo 2000 in 1933. Describing the growth of trucks in an interesting way, Adil has also explained how these trucks found employment in the harbour areas of Bombay (now Mumbai), Goa and Madras (now Chennai). The proliferation of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles has been supported by numbers. Mentioning that most earlier era Mercedes-Benz trucks were performing when Telco and Daimler-Benz inked an agreement to produce commercial vehicles in India, Adil has tastefully narrated the turn of events. He has also narrated the reluctance to diesel powered trucks, and how this adversely affected the country during the war. Apart from stating important and interesting developments, including the first air-conditioned coach on the Mercedes-Benz 1210 bus chassis built by VST Motors, Madras, Adil has chronicled the Mercedes-Benz Indian connection in good detail. He has narrated the German major’s connection with the Firodias of Pune. He has mentioned about the developments that led to the Matador and the Tempo Traveller; the powering of the two by the Mercedes-Benz OM616 diesel engine.

Apart from the entry of Mercedes-Benz Actros in India in 2007, and the introduction of the luxury inter-city bus based on O 500 bus chassis, the book has a chapter dedicated to the establishment of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles at Chennai. To win the hearts of Indian commercial vehicle buyers, the German major unveiled a new brand, BharatBenz, in India. BharatBenz trucks began rolling out of the Chennai Greenfield plant of Daimler, built with an investment of Euro 360 million, in 2012. Under the Fuso brand, the trucks made at Chennai are being exported to African and Asian markets. The company is also making buses at Chennai. A must read, the book, looking at the picture on the jacket, may be interpreted as a narration of the sporting history of Mercedes-Benz, it is however much more than that. The book adds a new dimension to the word meaning by narrating the winning ways of Mercedes-Benz as a commercial vehicle manufacturer as well. It does so in an interesting manner. And, right from the time

when Adil mentions his rendezvous with two souls from a local newspaper on August 26, 1977.


Adil Jal Darukhanawala is the founder editor of CV.

Mercedes-Benz unveils Concept V-ision e plug-in hybrid

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Launched at the 2015 Geneva show, the plug-in hybrid concept van, Concept V-ision is aimed at luxury travel. It is also aimed at business travellers. Flaunting designo titanium alubeam paint and a sporty-aerodynamic styling, the van concept is based on the V-Class, and features executive seats in the rear that can recline to a lying position inclination of up to 49 degrees at a push of a button. They include integrated calf supports, separate footrests, additional pillows, a three-stage heating and ventilation system apart from a massage feature. The executive seats can be combined with standard individual seats or optional seat benches as well. Two foldable 35 x 35 cm tables and two iPad holders are integrated into the driver and front-passenger seat backrests. These may bring the concept van up to speed in areas of comfort and convenience, it is the plug-in hybrid tech that makes it stand out. Promising powerful propulsion, the plug-in hybrid system, consisting of a 210 hp four-cylinder gasoline engine that develops a maximum torque of 350 Nm, and an electric motor that does 90 kW and 340 Nm of torque, has a total power output of 333 hp and a torque of 600 Nm. Guaranteeing a power packed performance, the concept van has a rated fuel consumption of less than 3.0 litres per 100 km, and can travel up to 50 km in an all-electric mode.

Demonstrating the potential a Mercedes-Benz van will offer in the future when it comes to accommodating the customers wishes and market demands according to Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the Concept V-ision sprints from 0 to 100 kmph in 6.1 seconds. This makes this hybrid quicker than the current V 250 BlueTEC top engine variant. With a top speed of 206 kmph, the NEDC fuel consumption of 3.0 litres per 100 km corresponds to CO2 emissions of 71 g per km. Capable of travelling up to 50 km in an all-electric mode if driven at a maximum speed of 80 kmph, offering short emission free trips, the energy for the electric motor is stored in a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 13.5 kWh. The battery can be recharged using an external power source. An intelligent drive-system management program automatically selects the ideal combination of combustion engine and an electric motor. The range of options includes a nearly silent electrical start (silent start), use of the electric motor to support the gasoline engine during acceleration (boost), and energy recovery (recuperation) during braking and when the vehicle is coasting. All recovered energy is stored in the battery which can be used for electric driving or the boost function. Drivers can also manage hybrid interaction manually and choose from different modes like hybrid, e-mode, e-save and charge. “Our pioneering Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid technology has enabled us to increase the output of the most powerful V-Class at the moment by 105 kW. And, while we have lowered fuel consumption to the level of a compact,” concludes Mornhinweg.