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All-electric Mercedes-Benz eEconic truck for aircraft refueling at Stuttgart Airport

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks handed over the first airport refueling vehicle based on an electric series truck from Daimler Truck. The procurement is an important step in the electrification of the ground-handling fleet for the refueling service provider Skytanking at Stuttgart Airport.

In cooperation with the tank body specialist Esterer, the electric truck was equipped with a 40.000-liter fuel tank that draws its electrical energy directly from the vehicle batteries.


It is the first refueling vehicle based on an electric series production vehicle from Daimler Truck, and also the first fully electric refueling vehicle in this class at Stuttgart Airport.

This vehicle is also the first all-electric tanker for Esterer. The development of a high-performance commercial vehicle with a total weight of over 50 tons was a special challenge for us. Today, we can present a comprehensive solution that is forward-looking, both economically and environmentally.

—Julia Esterer, Managing Director of Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Esterer GmbH & Co. KG

The all-electric Mercedes-Benz eEconic, as a low-floor truck with a total height of less than 2.80 meters, can easily pass underneath the wings of an aircraft. This allows the crew to stay directly under the aircraft tank, which is located within the wing body, when refueling under the wing.

The low panoramic window of the “DirectVision” cab and the low seat position give the driver a wide viewing angle during approach, providing excellent visibility among the various traffic participants on the apron. With the heated Thermocontrol windshield, visibility remains relatively good, even in poor weather conditions. On the front passenger side, the floor-to-ceiling glazed folding door ensures unobstructed visibility.

With this cab design and the numerous safety features already familiar from eEconic on-road use, the refueling vehicle, which is 18.50 meters in length, can also be deployed amidst the people and machinery on the apron. In addition to intelligent safety assistance systems such as the fifth-generation Active Brake Assist emergency braking assistant, there is also a sensor installed in the side collision protection at the level of the battery packs.

The electric truck has an electric axle with an integrated drive unit, as well as two electric motors that generate 330 kW of continuous power. When braking, electrical energy can be recovered through recuperation and fed back into the batteries. This can increase the operational time of the refueling vehicle, especially during stop-and-go operation while driving and refueling. The battery packs of the eEconic can be charged at up to 160 kW. Since the pump in the tank body also draws its electrical energy directly from the vehicle batteries, a single charging process will ensure the energy supply of the vehicle and body.

This significantly simplifies logistics compared to older vehicle concepts, which required diesel for driving operation while the body was electrically charged separately.


Daimler Truck and the Esterer company use a joint user interface to show all relevant information, such as the charge status of the batteries, the remaining range, the fill level in the tank body or the energy consumption on the display in the cab.

Daimler Truck and Esterer use a shared user interface to display all relevant information, such as the batteries’ state of charge, remaining range, tank body fill level, or energy consumption, on the display in the driver’s cab.

The Esterer tank body can refuel a wide range of aircraft. It draws directly on the electrical energy of the batteries that also power the vehicle. This concept of direct actuation of the pump is unique for use in aircraft refueling. For actual operations at Stuttgart Airport, this means: For one day at least, an hour of charging time is sufficient for the vehicle and tank body to be used for ground handling operations without charging interruptions. With a flow volume of 1,500 liters per minute, a typical charter aircraft can be fully refueled in under 20 minutes, although this is rarely necessary as aircraft tanks are usually neither completely empty nor—for weight reasons—completely full.

The vehicle and safety concept was implemented jointly by the experts from Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks and Esterer in close collaboration. In addition to technical solutions, this also included training for ground personnel.



Great application for a BEV.
This is not going far, and should have plenty of opportunity to recharge.
Ideal territory for batteries.

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