Daimler CO2-neutral trucks at altitude 

In News, Daimler6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 4, 2023

Daimler Truck has successfully completed demo tours using CO2-neutral trucks up to an altitude of 1560m in the heart of Tyrol’s alpine landscape.

Two prototype variants of the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck with a hydrogen-based fuel cell drive and a near-production-level, battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eActros 300 Tractor for distribution haulage were deployed.

With these vehicles, Daimler Truck is demonstrating that the different use cases for customers can be optimally covered by both CO2-neutral drive technologies. In order to achieve this objective, the company has clearly set its strategic course and is consistently pursuing a dual-track strategy in the electrification of its portfolio with both battery-electric and hydrogen-based drives.

“Drive systems based on hydrogen and batteries are essential for ensuring completely emission-free transportation in the future,” said Dr. Dalibor Dudic, head of vehicle projects, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Daimler Truck.

“In distribution haulage, the battery-electric eActros is already in regular use by many customers across Europe. With the eActros LongHaul, we are on the home straight to series production for plannable long-distance haulage.

“In the second half of the decade, the series version of our GenH2 Truck with fuel cell will follow for particularly challenging use cases. We have shown here in Tyrol that both drive technologies can function completely reliably and effectively.”

Fuel-cell trucks: Hydrogen possible in two aggregate states

Daimler Truck sent two prototype variants of its Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck on tour in Tyrol. For several days, the variant powered by liquid hydrogen covered a 70km route between Innsbruck and Brenner Pass. With around 2.5 million truck transits per year, the Brenner Pass is one of the main arteries of European freight transport.

The vehicle/trailer combination was loaded to a combined gross weight of 40 tonnes for the journeys. At the same time, another prototype of the GenH2 Truck, powered by gaseous hydrogen, covered a 40km route between Innsbruck and the village Axamer Lizum located at an altitude of 1560m above sea level. Here, the deployment of the fuel cell was demonstrated at various altitudes in a demanding topography.

In the development of hydrogen-based drives, Daimler Truck prefers liquid hydrogen. In this aggregate state the energy carrier has a significantly higher energy density in relation to volume compared to gaseous hydrogen. As a result, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the range and enables comparable performance of the vehicle with that of a conventional diesel truck.

The development objective of the series-ready GenH2 Truck is a range of up to 1000km and more. This makes the truck suitable for particularly flexible and demanding applications, especially in the important segment of heavy-duty long-haul transport. The start of series production for hydrogen-based trucks is planned for the second half of the decade.


Battery-electric in distribution haulage: eActros 300 Tractor in series production from fall onwards

The eActros 300 tractor variant completed regular and practical deployment tests in and around Innsbruck. The vehicle is compatible with all common European semitrailers, taking into account the maximum permitted total tractor/trailer combination length.

The electric semitrailer tractor is based on the same technology as the eActros 300/400. Three battery packs, each with an installed battery capacity of 112kWh, enable a range of up to 220km on a single battery charge. The eActros 300 Tractor can be charged with up to 160kW: The three battery packs need a little more than an hour to be charged from 20% to 80% at a standard DC fast charging station with a charging current of 400A.

As part of a series of tests, the electric truck already successfully negotiated the Arlberg Pass in Austria last year. Some sections of the tests were carried out at an altitude of over 1800m above sea level. Series production of the semitrailer truck is scheduled to start in the fall of this year.

Battery-electric in long-distance haulage: Start of eActros LongHaul series production in 2024

The eActros LongHaul has a range of around 500km on a single charge and is expected to reach series maturity in 2024. The batteries used in the eActros LongHaul employ lithium-iron phosphate cell technology. These are characterised, above all, by a long service life. The batteries of the production eActros LongHaul can be charged from 20% to 80% in under 30 minutes at a charging station with an output of about one megawatt.