Mercedes-Benz Trucks recently conducted winter tests in Rovaniemi, Finland, to test the endurance of its eActros LongHaul and eActros 300 battery-electric trucks, as well as the conventionally powered Actros L with diesel engine. The tests were conducted under extreme weather conditions, including snow, ice, and temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius.
Dr. Christof Weber, Head of Global Testing at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, stated that testing under extreme winter conditions is an essential part of vehicle development, particularly for alternative drives. Haulage companies need to be able to rely on their electric trucks year-round, just as they do with conventionally powered vehicles. For this reason, Mercedes-Benz Trucks subjected its electric and diesel trucks to six weeks of rigorous testing in Finland.
During the tests, Mercedes-Benz Truck development engineers evaluated all the functions and systems of the vehicles in practical use. This included testing support systems such as Active Sideguard Assist and Active Drive Assist, as well as evaluating driver comfort and the impact of country-specific lane markings and traffic signs on the trucks’ performance.
For the eActros LongHaul and eActros 300, experts focused on testing the battery properties and the electric drivetrain under adverse weather conditions. They tested elements such as starting properties, software, and interfaces, as well as thermal and energy management systems. The tests showed that even in extremely low temperatures, the eActros LongHaul can heat the cab faster than a diesel truck, thanks to its smaller heating circuit with high output. However, the energy for this is taken from the batteries, which reduces the range. Mercedes-Benz Trucks recommended pre-conditioning the electric truck at a charging station to reduce the loss of range.
The winter tests also evaluated the driving and braking properties of the trucks on surfaces with different levels of grip, as well as the effectiveness of driver assistance systems in slushy conditions. The Trailer Stability Assistant was also tested to determine its ability to reduce the risk of tractor-trailers skidding during cornering or evasive maneuvers on winter roads.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks plans to start series production of the eActros 300 in the second half of 2023. The electric truck has a range of up to 220 kilometers on a single battery charge, with three battery packs each with 112 kWh of installed battery capacity. The eActros LongHaul, which is scheduled for series production in 2024, has a range of around 500 kilometers on a single battery charge and uses batteries with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cell technology. The eActros LongHaul was awarded the “2023 Truck Innovation Award” by the “International Truck of the Year” jury at IAA Transportation in Hanover last year.