Mercedes-Benz Trucks development and test engineers tested the operational readiness of the eActros LongHaul and eActros 300 as a tractor unit under extreme conditions at temperatures down to minus 25 degrees Celsius in Rovaniemi, in northern Finland.
(In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Circle (66°33′45.9″ N) runs through Santa Claus Village, 8km north of the Rovaniemi city center.)
The tests focused in particular on the effects of extreme cold on handling, ergonomics and comfort. Tests also examined criteria such as the starting properties and drive components' protection from low temperatures, thermal management, charging properties and robustness of the sensors.
Winter tests are also indispensable for conventional series production vehicles, such as the Actros, for further optimization of functions and systems.
Mercedes-Benz Truck development engineers took a close look at all the functions and systems of the vehicles in practical use on the trip to Finland—for example, support when changing lanes as part of the Active Sideguard Assist or active lane guidance with Active Drive Assist in the Actros L.
Since several national borders had to be crossed, it was also possible to measure the impact of country-specific lane markings, traffic signs or digital map data on the performance of the assistance systems installed in the trucks. The fact that the trucks were tested all day long also allowed aspects such as the comfort of the driver’s seat to be evaluated.
In the case of the eActros LongHaul and the eActros 300 Tractor, the experts paid particular attention to the battery properties and the electric drivetrain on site in adverse weather conditions. For this purpose, elements including starting properties and drive components’ protection from low temperatures, software and interfaces were tested.
In addition, thermal and energy management systems were subjected to intensive testing. Both ensure that both the drivetrain and the driver’s cab are temperature-controlled correctly and energy-efficiently, even at low temperatures.
This showed, for example, that the eActros LongHaul generally heats the cab faster than a diesel truck thanks to its smaller heating circuit with high output. However, since the energy for this is taken from the batteries installed in the vehicle and therefore the range is reduced, so-called pre-conditioning of the electric truck at a charging station is advisable. After pre-conditioning, the eActros LongHaul loses less range even in extremely low temperatures.
The winter test also included numerous tests on driving and braking properties on surfaces with different levels of grip as well as the impact of slush, for example, on the effectiveness of the sensors of driver assistance systems. Also tested was how the Trailer Stability Assistant can reduce the risk of tractor-trailers skidding during cornering or evasive maneuvers on winter roads and how the MirrorCam handles different contrast conditions on ice and snow.
The eActros 300 model variant as a tractor unit, introduced for the first time at IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover, can pull all common European semitrailers, taking into account the maximum permissible overall vehicle combination length. The electric truck is based on the same technology as the eActros 300/400. Three battery packs, each with 112 kWh of installed battery capacity, enable a range of up to 220 kilometers on a single battery charge. Series production is scheduled to start in the second half of 2023.
In 2024, the eActros LongHaul is scheduled to be ready for series production for long-distance transport. Mercedes-Benz Trucks unveiled a concept prototype of the electric truck at IAA Transportation in Hanover last year. The series-production eActros LongHaul boasts a range of around 500 kilometers on a single battery charge and will enable high-performance charging.
Batteries with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cell technology are used in the eActros LongHaul. These are characterized, above all, by a long service life and more usable energy.