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Daimler reimagines urban transportation with new truck, van and bus concepts


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Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ)  /  September 20, 2016

During a press event on the eve of the IAA 2016 commercial vehicle show in Hannover, Germany, Daimler Trucks showcased its future urban transportation strategy with the unveiling the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck and Mercedes-Benz Future Bus concepts, as well as a demonstration of its previously announced Mercedes-Benz Vision Van.

“By 2050, cities will be home to more than 70 percent of the world’s population, and more urban transportation is required- for goods and for people,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Trucks & Buses. “This creates challenges regarding emissions, noise, infrastructure and congestion. We are developing vehicles of a completely new kind.”

World’s first electric truck

After introducing its electric drivetrain concept in July, Daimler completed the picture with the introduction of the Urban eTruck, an all-new electric truck concept for short-radius, zero-emissions goods distribution. The eTruck has a 200-km range on a single charge and has payload capacity up to 12.8 tons. According to Sven Ennerst, Daimler’s head of project engineering, the eTruck’s lithium ion batteries can recharge within two hours.

At the heart of the Urban eTruck is Intelligent Range Management, a system that allows the driver and fleet manager to optimize delivery routes by monitoring the vehicle’s real-time data, traffic conditions, and other data from Daimler’s existing FleetBoard telematics service, which now connects to the drivetrain.

When the dispatcher sets up route for delivery, all details go into IRM, which predicts energy needed and suggest the optimal driving mode. The driver has two 12-inch screens on the console. The primary screen provides data such as vehicle speed, speed limits, and real-time data on the actual battery status compared to the IRM’s predicted range at that point in the route.

“This pair of scales is a powerful tool because it builds trust,” says Ennerst. “We want to provide absolute certainty to the driver that he can reach destination as planned.” If something unexpected happens, such as a traffic jam, the IRM saves energy by changing the driving mode or scheduling a charging period at a delivery point along the route.

The eTruck takes design cues from the Mercedes-Benz Antos cabover, but the electric drive eliminates the need for a conventional air inlet, which is replaced by a LED-backlit black panel grille capable of displaying battery charge status, truck operating status and more.

The eTruck’s low-floor axle has liquid-cooled, high-speed asynchronous three-phase motors on each side with as much as 11,000 Nm, providing what Daimler says is diesel truck-like driving dynamics.

The Urban eTruck also has smart technology to optimize power consumption. “We are thinking beyond hardware and how to connect the truck to the grid,” said Bernhard. “Our new truck-to-grid management provides customers that would have multiple eTrucks with an optimized charging strategy or even earn money by allowing stationary vehicles to provide energy services that can generate income.”

Future Bus is built on Daimler’s Highway Pilot

The semi-autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Bus relies on Daimler’s CityPilot system, which was built on the foundation of the 2015-announced Highway Pilot autonomous driving system but adds additional functions to communicate with traffic lights, traffic flow patterns and pedestrians. The Future Bus was developed on the existing Mercedes-Benz Citaro platform.

The CityPilot system uses more than 10 cameras to scan the road and surroundings to provide a precise picture so the bus can operate safely in urban environments. If wireless connection to traffic lights is interrupted, the system reverts to cameras for visual recognition.

The Future Bus interior features a completely reimagined open-area transit experience for passengers, including a lounge at the back of the bus for longer journeys in what Daimler refers to as an urban living space.

“Operators gain from lower total cost of ownership thanks to improved fuel efficiency,” said Harmut Shick, head of Daimler Buses. “Passengers will be safer and more comfortable and arrive on time. Drivers will experience less strain.”

While the Future Bus is in concept stage, Daimler already announced it will launch an all-electric bus by 2018 based on Mercedes-Benz Citaro. “Our focus is to make it ready for serious production and to offer a product that makes a valid business case for customers,” added Schick.

Photo gallery - http://www.ccjdigital.com/daimler-reimagines-urban-transportation-with-new-truck-van-and-bus-concepts/


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Daimler looks to revolutionize urban deliveries with electric vehicles

Truck News  /  September 22, 2016

With 70% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, Daimler demonstrated at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show how it plans to make cities more livable.

“We will make distribution in big cities emissions-free very soon,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Trucks globally.

At the heart of its announcements at the show was a new all-electric and fully connected concept Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, which the company says will be able to produce no local emissions or noise. The triple axle concept truck has a gross weight rating of 26 tons and can perform as well as a diesel-powered truck, Daimler said. Bernhard said better batteries that are available for less money will soon make electric urban delivery vehicles viable.

“Urban areas will get more complex and our cars and trucks should make life easier,” said chief designer Gorden Wagener. “The Urban eTruck is a prime example that beauty and intelligence can go hand in hand in our commercial vehicles.”

Daimler showed the eTruck to a gathering of more than 600 guests from 36 countries on the eve of the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show. The company reduced the weight impairment normally associated with electric vehicles to just 1,700 kgs. The truck is propelled by an electrically powered rear axle, with electric motors adjacent to the wheel hubs.

The truck can operate in auto, agile and eco modes, depending on battery power levels and the requirements of the route.

The eTruck can travel 200 kms on a single charge and can be recharged in less than two hours, according to Sven Ennerst, head of product engineering and global procurement for Daimler. Drivers can view in real-time the planned and actual range and the truck will switch modes when necessary to conserve power and ensure it reaches its destination.

Daimler also announced an all-electric Fuso eCanter medium-duty truck, which will be offered in Europe, Japan and the US in 2018. It has a 100-km range and reduces total cost of operation by 40%, the company announced. Daimler said as much as 80% of urban transport involves routes of no more than 50 kms per day, making the eCanter an ideal vehicle. Only four batteries are needed to power the truck for the day, but for routes that extend to 100 kms or more, a fifth battery is available. Daimler projects the operational savings will provide a payback in less than three years.

Daimler also enhanced the safety of its urban delivery trucks with the introduction of Active Brake Assist 4, its first brake assist system with pedestrian detection. Automated alerts and active braking are employed at speeds of up to 50 km/h when a pedestrian is detected. A new Sideguard Assist system uses short-range radar to detect objects – including pedestrians and cyclists – along the right-hand side of the vehicle. Visual and audible alerts are issued so the driver can prevent contact with objects or people along the side of the truck. The new safety systems are being offered on Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe.

Of course, many urban deliveries are completed via van, and Daimler introduced a new Vision Van concept for this purpose. The electrically powered Vision Van comes complete with roof-mounted drones that can fetch a package from the cargo compartment and deliver it to a receiver. The drones have a range of 10 kms and payload capacity of two kilograms.

Mercedes will be producing fully electric eDrive vans by 2018, the company announced. Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz vans, insisted performance won’t be compromised when compared to today’s diesel-fueled vans.

The Vision Van features a 75 kW electric drive system that can run up to 270 kms with no local emissions or noise.

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Daimler’s take on urban trucking

Fleet Owner  /  September 20, 2016

Advanced eTruck, van and bus concept vehicles are unveiled at world’s largest commercial vehicle show

Advanced truck and bus technology for urban environments have taken center stage for Daimler at IAA 2016, the world’s largest commercial vehicle show. Having introduced its autonomous long-haul truck technology at the last IAA show in 2014, this time Daimler’s truck group rolled out a concept “Urban eTruck” with a 200 km range, while it’s van division showed an always-connected light vehicle meant to integrate last-mile delivery into advanced supply chain distribution systems. Using technology first shown in its Future Truck back in 2014, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Bus group this year also premiered the MB Future Bus with autonomous driving capability.

The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck is a fully electric 6x2 cabover with refrigerated body and 26-ton GVW. Power is delivered by two electric motors mounted at the drive wheel ends. A modular battery package design allows users to specify the proper storage capacity for their individual operations, with the standard three-battery module providing a range of up to 200 km, according to Daimler. A more compact two-battery module offers increased payload for shorter distances, and a four-battery package extends range at the cost of carrying capacity.  All three rely on regenerative braking to recharge the batteries during operation.

Inside the concept Urban eTruck, twin 12-in. displays provide all control and operating information while automated drive controls adjust vehicle speed and braking based on actual road and traffic conditions. Battery-charge state and use forecasts are also always displayed, allowing drivers to choose from power, normal and “eco” drive modes depending on available battery power and need.

Central to the Urban eTruck’s efficiency is full integration with Daimler’s FleetBoard telematics system. It not only allows dispatchers to remotely monitor the truck’s operations, but helps them plan routes and loads to maximize the electric truck’s efficiency.

Daimler said standard production of this type of urban truck “would be conceivable from the start of the next decade.”

Similar but in a smaller package, the Mercedes Benz Vision Van is a concept vehicle designed to function as an element in an integrated and digitally connected supply chain system. An electrically powered zero-emissions vehicle with a range of up to 270 km, it is intended for last-mile deliveries completed by autonomous drones. It functions as part of a fully automated cargo management system that picks orders, sequences packages, optimizes routes and automates vehicle loading.

The van’s interior workspace uses a joy-stick control, eliminating steering wheel, pedals and center console for a large driver work area.

Building on the autonomous driving technology introduced in the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck in 2014, the MB Future Bus takes that technology a few steps further for urban applications. Its ‘CityPilot” system can operate fully autonomously for up to 20 km, handling all steering, accelerating and braking by reading road signs and traffic lights, detecting obstacles and pedestrians and operating the bus doors at stops.

The concept bus is based on the current MB Citaro bus, but employs an unusual passenger compartment design Daimler says is based on public parks and squares. Passengers can chose between a standing room only “express” area for short trips or a ‘lounge” with asymmetrically placed seating for longer ones.

Overhead consoles with 43-in. monitors keep passengers fully informed and entertained.

While the concept bus shown at IAA is powered by MB 6-cyl. diesel, the company says it could also be fitted with its M936G natural gas engine or a forthcoming battery-powered electric drive for city buses due in 2018.


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