Electric Truck Guide
The electric truck market is dawning. As BEV technology advances, high capacity batteries are becoming smaller, lighter and, crucially, cheaper to produce, making them increasingly attractive to fleets of all sizes. In this article, we examine the progress in the electrification strategy for each major HGV OEM – along with a couple of exciting disruptors!
Due to their larger battery packs – mostly in excess of 250kWh – rapid DC chargers are the ideal solution for charging electric trucks. Vital EV is a specialist in DC chargers and is already working with a number of electric truck manufacturers with the sales, installation and service support of rapid EV chargers that reduce charging time and increase vehicle uptime.
The Dennis Eagle eCollect is based on the company’s Elite 6×2 rear-steer chassis with Olympus 19-cubic-metre body and Terberg automatic split bin lift. This is Dennis Eagle’s most popular vehicle configuration, so it’s already familiar to most drivers, operators and maintenance teams but the diesel driveline has been replaced by a 300kWh battery system and a 200kW electric drivetrain.
The Swedish truck manufacturer recently introduced electric versions of both the L-Series and P-Series. With a range of up to 250 km, the Scania electric truck can operate during the whole day and still return safely to its home-depot for overnight charging. If there is a need for an extended range, the driver can fast charge the truck over a break or during natural stops in operation.
Vital EV Solutions recently supplied Scania GB with a T-Series portable rapid EV charger. The Kempower T-Series supplies up to 40kW of mobile rapid charging, perfectly suited for Scania’s upcoming Eurocentral dealership in Scotland.
Offering a range of up to 160 miles (250 km) in pure battery electric vehicle (BEV) form or up to 310 miles (500 km) with its patented range extender technology (REX), which has now been upgraded to use hydrogen fuel cells; the Tevva Truck brings a best-in-class combination of capability and cost efficiency from a zero emissions medium duty truck, while offering the ruggedness and resilience of traditional trucks.
DAF was the first European truck manufacturer to commercialise a full electric tractor: the CF Electric (GCW up to 37 tonnes), primarily for supermarket distribution and inter-urban transportation. More recently, DAF expanded its EV range with the 6×2 CF Electric rigid with steered rear axle (GVW up to 29 tonnes design) and a LF electric which is built in the UK at Leyland Trucks.
MAN is slightly behind other European OEM when it comes to electric – the German manufacturer plans to start series production at its main plant in Munich from 2024. With the MAN eMobility Centre now open at the plant, the commercial vehicle manufacturer is laying the foundations for producing electric trucks in large industrial quantities.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks has revealed its first series production battery-electric truck, the eActros, which has a 250-mile range and will start rolling off the production line in the autumn.
The battery of the eActros series-production model is equipped with either three or four battery packs, each with an energy capacity of around 105kW/h. The maximum battery capacity of 420kW/h enables ranges of up to 400 kilometres (250 miles) to be achieved, says the manufacturer.
Volvo Trucks began offering electric versions of its lighter trucks in 2019 but from this year will sell a complete range of battery-electric trucks in Europe for distribution, refuse, regional transport and urban construction operations. Volvo Trucks’ objective is for its entire product range to be fossil-free by 2040.
Renault Trucks is expanding its range of all-electric truck models with a 19-tonne variant of the D Wide Z.E. Series production is now starting at the plant in Blainville-sur-Orne in Normandy, France. The Renault Trucks plant in Normandy has already been producing the D Z.E. (16-tonne) and D Wide Z.E. (26-tonne) since March 2020.
Maxus recently launched the H6 electric truck in South America and the company will soon started selling the trucks in Europe. The truck uses four packs of conventional batteries mounted on the back of the cab with a combined capacity of 282kWh. The batteries are made of ‘lithium iron phosphate’, which has the advantage of longer service life.
Electra has prioritised low entry chassis units from Mercedes Benz Econic and Dennis Eagle Elite as these are commonly the chassis of choice for delivery operators in the city. Electra has low entry chassis at up to 26t GVW, on any axle combination available to body, with battery capacity for a 250km and 9 hour PTO operation.