Perspectives and requirements of the charging infrastructure
Karin Rådström has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck Holding since 1 December 2021 and in this role is responsible for the Europe and Latin America regions and the Mercedes-Benz Truck brand. She is also a member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG.
IAA aktuell: Ms Rådström, at the IAA TRANSPORTATION the eActros LongHaul will be the highlight on your stand. What makes the vehicle so special in your eyes?
Rådström: The special feature is that it is a battery-electric tractor. From a technical point of view, it is much more demanding to electrify a heavy truck than a distribution vehicle. And of course our customers who are active in long-distance transport have different requirements than our customers in general cargo or distribution transport. One important point here is the charging options and charging times.
Is the eActros LongHaul fit for the new level of megawatt charging?
Yes, fleet operators can charge the eActros LongHaul with about one megawatt of power. This allows them short charging times and high operating times. In addition, there is the high range of about 500 kilometres after a complete charging process. This makes the vehicle very competitive.
That should cover most of your customers' requirements - especially since the vehicle can be quickly recharged during driver breaks. Is there still a need to produce an additional hydrogen fuel cell truck?
Our development work is based on the applications of our customers, of course: Battery-electric trucks make sense up to about 500 kilometres, one day perhaps up to 700 kilometres, with one battery charge. For much longer ranges, more flexible and more demanding operations across Europe, we need hydrogen. On the other hand, the availability of alternative energy sources also plays an important role. It is very demanding to build a green power high-capacity charging network to the most remote region. I can imagine that a hydrogen filling station network - again with the premise that it is green hydrogen - can play out its advantages in energy distribution. We will probably see that from the second half of the decade.
Which technology has the advantage in terms of cost?
There is still a lot of uncertainty here - especially about the price development of sustainably produced electricity and hydrogen. What will a kilowatt hour of green electricity cost in the future - will it be 15 or 40 cents? And what will a kilogram of hydrogen cost in the future - three or six euros? Depending on these factors, the answer as to which technology gives the best TCO calculation can always change. But a vehicle manufacturer has no influence on that. Therefore, it is only reasonable for Daimler Truck to be prepared for both. Since battery-electric drives have the highest efficiency among alternative drives, the eActros LongHaul will offer significant economic advantages. Profitability for our customers is also a key part of the overall solution we want to offer with the eActros LongHaul.
What is the timetable for this vehicle?
The prototypes will start testing on public roads later this year. Customer testing will then follow in the course of next year.
Hall 20, Stand A40