Mercedes-Benz’s New Electric Truck May Be the Future of Commercial Transportation

The Urban eTruck is designed to pack enough electrons for a full day's work.

The blow of increasingly hard-hitting emissions regulations doesn’t just affect cars; it slams into commercial vehicles, too. So to combat the rising tide of government regulations, Mercedes-Benz has rolled out a new, all-electric commercial truck designed to navigate the cities of tomorrow: the Urban eTruck.

The Urban eTruck was unveiled Tuesday at the 2016 IAA International Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany. The truck uses two three-phase electric motors packing a combined output of 339 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. Because the eTruck uses a modular design, the truck’s electric driving range varies depending on the chosen battery layout; go for the maximum, and the eTruck has the ability to travel up to 124 miles on a charge,—more than enough to handle an average day of local deliveries. 

Importantly for both efficiency and cargo capacity, the eTruck doesn’t weight drastically more than a traditional rig. According to Mercedes, the electric truck weighs in about 3,700 pounds more than its diesel-powered equivalent…which sounds like a lot, until you take into account the triple-axle truck can handle gross weights of up to nearly 29 tons. 

When behind the wheel, the driver can choose from three different driving modes. “Auto” automatically configures the truck so that it can perform a specific job or complete a trip on a single charge; “Agile” gives the driver access to the truck’s full power output,;and “Eco” lowers the amount of torque the truck’s motors produce, in an attempt to increase range.

Inside the truck, Mercedes-Benz has fitted a 12.3-inch screen that displays vehiclular vitals, live electric powertrain information, and navigation. Outside, there is a transparent, back-lit grille that changes what it displays by using a series of LEDs. The truck’s driver can change the grille’s design to show a standard Mercedes-Benz grille, to show the operating status of the rig, or to check the state of charge in the truck’s batteries.

For now, the Urban eTruck is just a concept, but we at The Drive fully expect to see a production version on the streets before long. (Hopefully one that keeps this rig’s badass front end.)