A 12-month trial of urban electric trucks used in last mile distribution will begin in Germany this year, reports Cleantechnica.
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz trucks, is manufacturing a first small run of its Urban e-Truck as the first step to full-scale production by 2020, says Stefan Buchner, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks worldwide.
This production run will pilot charging times, battery and range management with a select group of customers using real-life transport and logistics operations. Deliveries will begin in Germany, but will expand to other European countries.
One of the biggest barriers for reducing emissions in the transport sector is how to deal with logistics and distribution of goods, particularly in the “last mile” – the distribution journey between a port or freight depot to the point of sale in the urban area. To date, electric trucks have been limited by the cost, weight and length of time that lithium-ion batteries last.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the Urban e-truck features 212 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery packs, allowing for a range of around 124 miles per charge.
The European Commission has recently adopted a low emission mobility strategy with aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 60 percent on 1990 levels by 2050. Low-emission transportation and electric mobility will be the cornerstone of this strategy.
Making the switch from diesel to electric vehicle services, however, is far from straightforward, and requires dramatic changes in operations and planning because of range and recharging issues. Such issues are driving innovations in electric transport planning software, such as Munep2.