Mercedes-Benz is electrifying the tried-and-tested Econic. For mankind and the climate.
Towns are growing. As too are the demands placed on mobility, logistics, the environment and quality of life. Our answer to this is a commercial vehicle which is up to the challenge. It is powerful and efficient whilst also can increase safety for all road users. And, with its local emission-free and quiet drive system, it provides sustainable solutions to combat the increasing environmental pollution in conurbations. The Econic: coming soon with a purely battery-electric drive.
Colourful hustle and bustle, short distances and good supplies: many people make a conscious decision to live in the city. But all the benefits have a downside. Noise and emissions are a burden on residents and workers in many places. We want to change that. And we see electromobility as the solution.
Electrification of urban transport is not only necessary, but also makes sense. This is because it offers ideal conditions for the introduction and operation of electric vehicles, as electric vehicles can demonstrate their strengths particularly well in the stop-start traffic of inner-city areas. Electric motors not only have very good pulling-away dynamics, but also recover energy when braking.
In traditional internal combustion engines, the energy required to accelerate cars or trucks is converted into heat when the vehicles are braked. This then dissipates as unused waste energy into the environment. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, can recover some of this kinetic energy through so-called recuperation during braking and feed it back into the battery. This energy is then available again for propulsion during the next acceleration phase.
This type of energy recovery is based on the generator principle, which means that the kinetic energy released during braking is converted into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction – similar to a bicycle dynamo.
A positive side effect: through regenerative braking, the brakes of electric vehicles are less intensively stressed compared to those of internal combustion vehicles. This protects the brakes and also releases lesser quantities of harmful brake dust into the environment.
Traffic noise stresses and even damages our ears over the long term. In noisy major cities worldwide, hearing ages by an average of 10 to 15 years.* With electric vehicles, there is no drive noise. Commercial vehicles in particular, which start and stop very frequently, can contribute to a significant reduction in noise emissions if equipped with an all-electric drive.
*Source: mimi.io hearing index, 2017
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO₂ emissions, have clear negative effects on health and the climate. An advantage of e-mobility: on the road, an electric vehicle does not cause any local emissions, thereby reducing pollution in congested areas. However, the energy production itself is also especially important. With the use of 100 percent renewable energy sources, almost climate-neutral vehicle operation becomes possible.*
*Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, bmu.de, 2020
The use of the eEconic in waste management makes perfect sense. Because here there are almost ideal conditions for the introduction and operation of electric vehicles:
Karin Rådström, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, in conversation with Stefan Olin, Managing Director Urbaser A/S (Denmark)
The eEconic carries forth the successful concept of the Econic with its DirectVision cab.
The Econic focuses on the safety of all road users and creates an ergonomic working environment for driver and crew alike. With its battery-electric drive, the eEconic is the logical further development of the efficient and environmentally friendly city truck of today and tomorrow.
Thanks to the low-entry design, the driver sits lower in the eEconic than in conventional trucks – and thus at eye level with other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. From the DirectVision cab with panoramic glazing and fully glazed folding door, the driver has a clear view of the road. Intelligent safety assistance systems also lend a hand in confusing city traffic.
What's more, the eEconic also offers great protection for vehicle occupants, as the vehicle has a dual protection system to ensure high-voltage safety. In addition to the automatic emergency shutoff mechanism required by law, the eEconic also has a manual emergency shutoff mechanism which, for example, interrupts the power supply in the event of a crash. Further details on the topic of high-voltage safety will be available here soon.
Get rapidly to where you need to be, even when things get tight. The eEconic impresses in city traffic with its high manoeuvrability and low vehicle height. And it scores additional points thanks to its bodybuilder-friendly design.
With the range offered by the batteries, most waste collection routes in one-shift operation can be covered with just a single charge. Plus, the drive system is characterised by a high degree of efficiency – which saves both energy and money.
The eEconic takes the strain off its crew during their strenuous working days. With a low entry and comfortable standing height in the cab, the eEconic brings all the advantages of the tried-and-tested Econic, plus the ergonomic cab even comes with a few additional new features: The floor of the driver's cab is now level and the heated Thermocontrol windshield offers a good view of what is happening on the road, even in poor weather conditions. The new multimedia cockpit is clear and easy to use. For more relief for the driver in everyday life.
With its new e-drive, the eEconic produces only low noise emissions and is locally CO₂-neutral. Thanks to its purely battery-electric drive, the vehicle has a lower carbon footprint than a conventional truck.
With our integrated consulting approach, we would like to support you in the best possible way during the acquisition of your battery-electric truck. We will help you to calculate your total cost of ownership, advise you on any available subsidies and support you in setting up a charging infrastructure that is optimal for your requirements.
More information about the charging infrastructure of the eEconic will be available here shortly.
We are pushing resolutely ahead with the development of the battery-electric eEconic for municipal operations in multiple intensive trial series. The test engineers’ focus is on trials of the vehicle’s safety, performance and durability. The eEconic will also have to prove itself in tests of the batteries and the electric powertrain in summer and in winter.
The vehicle is also being subjected to additional testing concepts such as noise measurements, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and test drives on the rough road. Once the tests have been concluded, the eEconic will head for the next step — customer trials in real-life operation.
The eEconic’s vehicle architecture benefits from Daimler Trucks’ global platform strategy. The low-floor truck is based on the eActros for heavy-duty distribution operations, which celebrated its digital world premiere at the end of June. As a result, the central technical specifications of the eEconic are largely identical to those of the eActros.
The eEconic with a gross vehicle weight rating of 27 tons will initially be launched on the market in its configuration as a refuse collection vehicle with the wheel configuration 6x2/ NLA. In Its configuration as a refuse collection vehicle, he will in future be able to cover the vast majority of the Econic’s typical refuse collection routes without needing to recharge en route, and will be locally CO₂-neutral and quiet. As is the case with the eActros, the technological heart of the eEconic is the drive unit — an electric axle with two integrated electric motors and a two-speed transmission. The battery of the eEconic series-production model will be equipped with three battery packs, each with an energy capacity of around 105 kWh. Both liquid-cooled motors generate a continuous output of 330 kW as well as a top performance of 400 kW. In addition, when driving with foresight, electrical energy can be recovered through recuperation — a major advantage, especially in the stop-and-go operation of refuse collection. At the end of the daily routes, the batteries of the electric truck can be recharged with up to 160 kW at the customers’ depot.
 This corresponds roughly to the energy content of a new battery pack, including safety and performance limits to maintain system operation.
 The eEconic can be charged with up to 160 kW: Based on figures determined in accordance with company-internal experience, under optimal conditions – including when connected to a regular 400 A DC charging station at an ambient temperature of 20 °C – the three battery packs need a little longer than 1 hour to charge from 20 to 80%.
Dr. Ralf Forcher, Head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks on the test process so far.
“We are subjecting the eEconic to an extremely wide range of test series, and the results to date have shown that we are on the right track with our concept. The eEconic is ideally suited for its designated role as a refuse collection vehicle. The high proportion of stop-and-go driving, reliably plannable daily routes averaging 100 km and the charging of the batteries at the customers’ depots add up to an ideal application for the mission profile of the battery-electric low-floor truck.”
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Our Mercedes-Benz promise: we won't leave you on your own. Our electric ecosystem offers services from consulting to commissioning.
The switch to electrically powered trucks is about more than just a new drive system. We offer you comprehensive support right from the start – from advice on setting up the right charging infrastructure to maintenance. As the owner of an eEconic, you benefit from services such as connection to a digital fleet management system.
Before entering the world of eMobility, we provide you with intensive consultation. Our experts analyse the individual operational scenario and carry out a route analysis. A precise calculation of the total cost of ownership (TCO) is carried out for each customer and a comparison is drawn with other drive variants. We also support you in finding suitable funding.
A suitable charging infrastructure in your depot is the pre-requisite for a smooth start into electromobility. Together with selected partners, we advise you on choosing the right charging station for the respective application as well as the appropriate infrastructure for the location. Depending on the intended operations, we create individual charging scenarios and provide support with planning and applications. Even before you purchase your eEconic, you will benefit from competent advice on installing the infrastructure.
New technologies require new practical knowledge and know-how. To ensure that you know about all aspects of electromobility right from the start, we offer comprehensive training courses for drivers, fleet managers and workshop employees.
The eEconic is always in good hands at our numerous Mercedes-Benz service partners. Specially trained employees routinely carry out any upcoming maintenance tasks. Plus, our mobile service teams come directly to you in the event of an emergency. And with our digital service "MB Uptime", the planning of workshop visits is even more efficient.
The performance of batteries diminishes over the years. But for us, that doesn't mean they're ready for the scrap heap. We're working on solutions that allow old batteries to be reused in a meaningful way.
We network the eEconic with Mercedes-Benz Uptime and other Fleetboard services suited to eTrucks and charging management. This means that fleet managers can not only centrally manage all relevant vehicle data at any time, but also plan in service times and avert damage to the vehicle in advance thanks to intelligent analysis tools.
We ensure that the battery of the eEconic remains powerful and has a long range. This includes close monitoring of the battery's state of health (SoH). Based on this data, you can always keep an eye on the status of your battery via the MB Uptime service.
A green fleet pays off – with the right financing, we put you on the right track from the outset. This includes the financing of the vehicle and the charging infrastructure as well as warranty and maintenance packages for greater planning security. We of course also advise you with regard to current subsidies which are available to facilitate the changeover to battery-electric drives.
Charging instead of refueling, different handling, new technology - anyone who is interested in an eTruck is entering new territory in many respects. This is where the eConsulting team at Mercedes-Benz Trucks comes in. Their job is to help customers on their journey to eMobility. In this interview, Angelika Wetzel from the eConsulting team and eEconic product manager Linda Fritzenwanker reveal to us, among other things, why no two consultancies are alike.
Ms. Wetzel, you advise customers on their journey to electrifying their fleet. What exactly does that involve?
Angelika Wetzel:The acquisition of an eTruck usually presents transport companies with many challenges at first. Which routes can I use my electric truck on? What charging infrastructure do I need? What construction measures and investments should I expect for charging in my own depot?
We assist our customers with precisely these questions, on an individual basis. Because one thing is certain: An electrified truck has to pay off for transport operators in their day-to-day operations. That's why we don't just put an eTruck in our customers' yards, but accompany them step by step on their journey to electromobility - from route analysis and selecting the right charging infrastructure to applying for subsidies. We want our customers to receive everything they need from a single source in order to get the most out of their vehicle and utilize their truck as fully as possible. To this end, we offer them various consulting packages and digital services.
And what does this consulting look like in practice?
Angelika Wetzel: Basically, we shed light on the entire ecosystem surrounding the eTruck and provide our customers with solutions that are tailored to their needs. First of all, we look at what our customers' use cases and routes look like in detail today. Based on this analysis, we then determine a realistic and meaningful usage profile for the electric truck. In the next step, we define the appropriate infrastructure that the customer needs for their eTruck. This includes suitable charging options and scenarios, for example. In this area, we usually advise our customers in close cooperation with our partners Siemens Smart Infrastructure, ENGIE and EVBox Group.
Linda Fritzenwanker: Since our eEconic customers are mainly from the municipal sector, the topic of charging infrastructure plays a special role. Municipal customers have often already dealt with this issue and even installed their own infrastructure. Depending on the planned fleet size, we advise on the necessary capacities for the power supply and develop the appropriate charging and depot management together with the customer. This includes questions about the most sensible time to charge the vehicles or whether it is possible to charge the eTrucks economically overnight. Especially in the waste management sector, there are special requirements such as working in shifts, with fixed routes and the simultaneous end of the shift in the depot.
Angelika Wetzel: Of course, our consultations are always about the costs that transportation companies face. After all, it is also enormously important for our customers to have as much transparency as possible regarding their future cost structure. To do this, we also look at what opportunities there are to optimize the total cost of ownership, for example through subsidies. We also help our customers to identify and exploit suitable funding opportunities in their region.
That sounds like quite a bit of theory up front.
Angelika Wetzel:Yes, definitely. But that is by no means the end of our work. For example, we discuss with our customers which eServices and telematics applications are suitable for them. Mercedes-Benz Uptime and Fleetboard will be available for the eEconic. We also offer transport companies new digital services, such as our Charge Management Service. With this service, our customers can observe their eTruck fleet and their charging infrastructure and remotely control and optimize it.
So that our customers can really get the most out of their vehicle, we will offer them tailored training before the delivery of their eActros. It will then deal, for example, with safety in relation to high voltage, but also with the optimal driving and charging of the eTruck. Our Services are also discussed in detail in order to ensure a smooth flow of the logistics steps.
What feedback do you get from your customers?
Angelika Wetzel:The response to our offer has been consistently positive. We are told time and again that our consulting services make it much easier for our customers to get started with electromobility, and that we provide them with great added value. Many customers see it as a very positive thing that we don't just focus on pure sales, but can also offer a solution for all questions relating to the vehicle. Experiences we are having or have already had?
Linda Fritzenwanker:It is interesting that we can often observe that the acceptance of eTrucks increases over the course of a collaboration. Because one thing must not be forgotten: Many transport companies and some waste disposal companies are still in the early stages when it comes to electromobility. Above all, the issues surrounding charging infrastructure, grid connection and energy management are new to many customers. Besides, no two customers are alike. It is very important to respond to the individual needs and use cases of each customer. Because one thing is certain: here is no standard solution for electromobility.
"In the early stages" is a good keyword: What are your next big milestones?
Angelika Wetzel:We expect that this will give our offering a further boost, and that the topic will continue to gain momentum. We have also been working for some time on passing on our knowledge to our colleagues in the European markets. Our goal is that in each of our European markets, our colleagues should be able to provide our customers with comprehensive, individual and market-specific advice.
By 2050, we at Daimler Trucks & Buses will have switched completely to CO₂-neutral transport solutions.
The idea of sustainable mobility electrifies us. That's because we want to join with our partners and customers to protect the environment. The challenges of our day and age can only be mastered if we all work together and consistently change the way we think.
Daimler Trucks & Buses is pursuing a sustainable business strategy and has set itself the ambitious aim to only offer new vehicles that are equipped with tank-to-wheel CO₂-neutral drive systems from 2039 in the European, Japanese and North American markets. Our ultimate goal is to achieve CO₂-neutral transportation on the roads by 2050.
The transport sector has an important role to play in reducing global CO₂ emissions. We take our responsibility seriously and act accordingly. To protect the climate and, at the same time, to maintain the mobility of people all over the world.
In developing emission-free drive solutions for the commercial vehicles of the future, we're thinking in various directions. The aim we've set ourselves: to only offer commercial vehicles that are emission-free in tank-to-wheel operation from 2039 in the regions of Europe, North America and Japan.
We will start series production of battery-electric trucks before the end of 2021, and in the second half of this decade Daimler Trucks & Buses plans to expand its vehicle range to include series-produced vehicles with hydrogen-based fuel-cell drive systems.
For us, sustainable solutions are characterised by the fact that they offer answers to all questions which arise – from the initial specification of requirements to bringing the vehicle into operation. And for us, electromobility is about more than just a new type of drive system.
To make the switch to electrically powered commercial vehicles as easy as possible, we are developing zero-emission trucks such as the eEconic in close co-operation with bodybuilders and customers. This is the only way to create efficient, tailor-made solutions that are optimally adapted to your needs.
Daimler Trucks has been gathering experience with electric trucks since 2010. Because we started development early, we can already present concrete solutions today. For example: the eActros, which has now been tested by customers in real operation in Europe for two years.
The advancement of global warming has dramatic consequences: violent storms, floods, forest fires and droughts are increasing in frequency – with existential consequences.
We have to take countermeasures. In December 2015, 150 countries therefore agreed to implement national climate protection targets at the international climate summit in Paris.
Their joint mission: limit the increase in the global average temperature to less than 2 °C. And this can only be achieved if emissions of harmful greenhouse gases are halved in each coming decade. We want to play our part in this.