Urban air pollution has been a key driver towards the development of electric commercial vehicles, such as electric buses. Next to take on electrification are trucks; enter the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck.

Based on the Mercedes-Benz Antos truck, the Urban eTruck is a fully electric heavy truck which operates at a total weight of 26,000 kg. The three-axle rigid truck is intended for urban multi-drop work, where each journey is relatively short and thus creates more pollution than steady-state cruising on the motorway.

“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck,” according to Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler-Benz board representative for the truck division.

Three lithium-ion battery packs are mounted within the truck’s chassis, which sends power to the driven second axle, with an electric motor mounted next to each wheel hub. No output figures have been quoted, but a range of 200 km is claimed, making it usable for urban distribution deployment.

The manufacturer hopes to have the electric truck in production by 2020, by which time legislation for emissions will surely tighten up even more, particularly in its home market of Europe, where numerous automakers have come under scrutiny.