There has been a clear demand increase for zero-emission technologies within commercial and passenger vehicle segments following federal and private carbon neutrality initiatives that are being introduced in order to curb GHG emissions. Currently, the highest amount of emphasis has been placed on these two vehicle segments, owing to the transportation sector recording a significant contribution towards GHG emissions. In order to reduce carbon footprints, many conglomerates such as Volvo, Daimler AG, and Volkswagen have been introducing carbon neutrality targets and vehicular technologies involving battery electric and fuel cell electric technologies within propulsion systems.
However, some segments, more specifically the Off-Highway segment within vehicles have been ignored when it comes to the integration of zero-emission technologies. Companies such as Solectrac, and Volvo Construction Equipment have introduced models in the past that use battery electric technologies for propulsion, but the integration of such technologies within consumer markets have been slow, owing to a number of reasons, the most significant of which are battery power constraints. Commercial vehicles are plagued by range constraints that occur due to battery electric technologies, and, in a synonymous fashion, the Off-Highway vehicle market is plagued by power output restrictions due to the vast amount of work that these vehicles are required to do, a factor that till date, has been very difficult to cater to through battery electric technologies. While companies have started looking and investing into other green fuels such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in order to fuel propulsion systems, battery R&D for construction vehicles are still in nascent stages.
Recently, however, Mercedes, a Daimler subsidiary and global automotive conglomerate, has initiated vehicle specific targets in order to break through the barrier that construction vehicles are currently facing. Mercedes has announced that it will now be focusing on battery development aimed at construction vehicles specifically as well. The company plans on showcasing prototypes f the eActros LongHaul and the Arocs, as well as an eActros with an electrified roll-off tipper.
The system developed for the eActros LongHaul and presented as a prototype at Bauma has a continuous output of 58 kW and a torque of 300 Nm. In series production, the electric power take-off is to generate a significantly higher output. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is working on the corresponding technology for long-haul trucks together with the Munich-based tipper manufacturer Meiller. The jointly developed system combines the inverter, the e-machine, the control unit as well as the familiar tipper semi-trailer hydraulics in a design tailored to the vehicle behind the driver’s cab. Mercedes has quoted that ““with the electric power take-off we achieve complete local CO2 neutrality as well as a greatly reduced noise level,”.
The second highlighted construction vehicle being released by the company is a BEV prototype of the Arocs construction site truck as a truck mixer, through a collaboration with Paul Group. The company company is equipping the trucks supplied by Mercedes from the Wörth plant with an electric drivetrain. Paul is using an electrified central motor solution. The idea behind this is that the outer planetary axles of the conventional Arocs can continue to be used in order to provide the ground clearance and off-road capability required for construction site use in the electric vehicle models as well.
According to the companies, there will be a small series of the Battery Aroc at the end of 2023. Models can initially be ordered exclusively within Germany as 4- and 3-axle trucks for Liebherr truck mixer, flatbed and tipper applications, they say. Paul will be the main distributor, and the group will also take care of all service and maintenance work for the trucks.
Daimler Truck’s subsidiary Fuso is also presenting a version of its eCanter electric truck optimised for the construction industry at Bauma. The all-electric truck with a capacity of up to 8.55 tonnes will in future be offered on request with bodies suitable for construction sites. In similar fashion, the Bavarian construction equipment manufacturer Sennebogen has unveiled the ‘653 E Electro Battery’ telescopic crawler crane at the Bauma trade fair. The 50-tonne model is said to combine “combines the benefits of battery technology with the proven advantages of the telescopic crawler crane design”, with a 130 kW electric motor installed instead of a diesel engine, promising up to 14 hours of operation time.
With market leading automotive organisations now stepping into the electric construction vehicle segment, as well as some country-wide legislations such as UK’s Red Diesel ban now being put into place, the construction vehicle market is now gearing up to enter fully into the world of zero-emission technologies.
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