Second eActros test phase gathers speed: Mercedes-Benz electric truck starts work at Remondis in Cologne

6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 30, 2020

Another battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eActros starts practical testing at Remondis in Cologne. The leading company for recycling and water management as well as municipal and industrial services is operating a 25-tonne truck with a range of about 200 kilometres in its waste management business as part of the waste container service – the transportation of new, defective or repaired waste containers. In doing so, the fully electric eActros also drives along routes that are off-limits to conventional trucks. The batteries of the eActros are recharged overnight at the Remondis depot in the city’s Rodenkirchen district. Remondis is testing the eActros together with its sister logistics company Rhenus as part of a joint project for testing alternative drives. 

“After the first vehicles were handed over in the Netherlands and Germany, the second test phase of our eActros ‘Innovation Fleet‘ is now gathering speed. With Remondis, we were able to win a customer who plays a pioneering role in the important urban municipal operations. This user experiences a high proportion of stop-and-go traffic and daily tours can be well-planned; as a result it is ideal for testing our battery-electric eActros. We are looking forward to the intensive customer testing of the electric truck together with Remondis and Rhenus,” said Daimler Truck AG head of sales Trucks West Heinz Uliczka.

Stephan Krings, managing director Remondis Rheinland said as Germany‘s largest company in the field of waste management, sustainability and conservation of resources are the fundamental pillars of Remondis‘s philosophy and shape all areas of operations.

“Wholly in line with this philosophy, the eActros in Cologne will accomplish its job quietly and in an environmentally friendly way – even on restricted routes where driving bans for diesel vehicles are in place. Together with Rhenus, our sister company, we are looking forward to the complex operations of the eActros in Cologne’s inner city and are excited to hear the feedback from our drivers.”

“For us at Rhenus, ‘green logistics’‘ is the result of our basic values and our self-conception as a global logistics service provider,” said Rhenus Transport managing director Sascha Hähnke. “Environmental protection and responsible handling of resources are elemental components of our company strategy and we consistently continue our efforts to find transport solutions that are ever more sustainable. For this reason it is very important to us to test alternative drive technologies and to then use the best available technology. Together with Remondis we are now putting the eActros through its paces.”

One of the many findings gained during the practical tests in the first test phase is that the range of the eActros of approximately 200 kilometres has proven to be absolutely realistic – regardless of load, route or topography. The eActros is in no way inferior to a conventional truck in terms of availability and performance in urban traffic, on highways or on overland routes. The cooling system for the cargo and the air-conditioning system – both electrically operated – functioned without any limitations in both extreme heat and winter conditions. Drivers are very pleased with the continuous availability of torque across the entire speed range. They also particularly mentioned the truck‘s quietness in operation and the pleasant, smooth driving experience. 

The W.BO swap body from Schmitz Cargobull for dry-goods transport is a smooth-wall box in steel construction with various equipment options such as double-decker system and roller door, and a keyhole system as standard equipment. 

The eActros is based on the chassis of the Mercedes-Benz Actros. In addition, however, the vehicle‘s architecture is completely geared to electric drive and has a high proportion of specific parts. Two electric motors close to the rear-axle wheel hubs provide drive with an output of 126kW each and a maximum torque of 485Nm each. This results in 11,000Nm each after the transmission ratio, providing a performance equivalent to that of a conventional truck. Lithium-ion batteries with 240kWh supply the energy for the eActros. Depending on the available charging power, the batteries can be fully charged within two hours (at 150kW). 

From left: Sascha Hähnke (managing director Rhenus Transport), Stephan Krings (managing director Remondis Rheinland), and Heinz Uliczka (head of sales Trucks West at Daimler Truck AG).

The development and testing of heavy-duty electric trucks in distribution transport is receiving support from Germany‘s Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), as part of the Concept ELV² project.