Daimler unveils Mercedes-Benz electrification plan and hydrogen fuel cell concept truck

Truck manufacturer Daimler Trucks has revealed its strategy for the electrification of its vehicles and unveiled its hydrogen-based fuel-cell concept truck, the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck, with a range of up to 1,000km.

Daimler Trucks plans to begin customer trials of the GenH2 Truck in 2023, with series production planned to start in the second half of the decade. By using liquid instead of gaseous hydrogen with its higher energy density, the vehicle’s performance is planned to equal that of a comparable conventional diesel truck, Daimler said.

Development engineers at Daimler Trucks have based the GenH2 Truck on the capabilities of the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros with regard to tractive power, range and performance. For example, the series-production version of the GenH2 Truck is to have a gross vehicle weight of 40 tons and a payload of 25 tons. Two special liquid-hydrogen tanks and a powerful fuel-cell system will make this high payload and long range possible, according to Daimler Trucks.

In addition, Daimler Trucks presented for the first time a preview of a purely battery-powered long-haul truck, the Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul, which is designed to cover regular journeys on plannable routes in an energy-efficient manner. Daimler Trucks plans to have the eActros LongHaul ready for series production in 2024. Its range on one battery charge will be about 500km. The company adds that it intends for the truck to be largely charged within 45 minutes – so drivers will be able to charge it when they take their legally-mandated 45-minute break after every 4.5 hours of driving. It will also be available in two- and three-axle form.

Additionally, the Mercedes-Benz eActros for distribution transport, which was presented in 2018 and has been tested intensively since then by customers in everyday transport operations, will start series production next year, Daimler Trucks revealed. The range of the series-produced eActros on one battery charge will significantly exceed that of the prototype’s about 200km, the company added.

Daimler also announced a new worldwide modular platform architecture, the ePowertrain, which will be the technological basis of all medium- and heavy-duty CO2-neutral, all-electric series-produced trucks from Daimler Trucks – whether powered by batteries or by hydrogen-based fuel cells. With the ePowertrain, Daimler Trucks plans to achieve synergies and economies of scale for all relevant vehicles and markets.

Martin Daum, chairman of the board of management of Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of management of Daimler AG, said: “We are consistently pursuing our vision of CO2-neutral transport with a focus on the genuinely locally CO2-neutral technologies battery power and hydrogen-based fuel cells, which have the potential to succeed in the market in the long term. This combination enables us to offer our customers the best vehicle options, depending on the application. Battery power will be rather used for lower cargo weights and for shorter distances. Fuel-cell power will tend to be the preferred option for heavier loads and longer distances.”

“With our alternative drive concepts from Mercedes-Benz – the GenH2 Truck, the eActros LongHaul and the eActros – and our electric trucks of the Freightliner and FUSO brands, we have a clear focus on customer requirements and are creating genuine locally CO2-neutral alternatives for them.”

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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