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Daimler Truck Southern Africa launches electric heavy-duty truck range

Daimler Truck Southern Africa's Mercedes-Benz eActros electric heavy commercial truck

Photo by Creamer Media's Marleny Arnoldi

Mercedes-Benz eActros and eCanter electric trucks

22nd May 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) Daimler Truck Southern Africa (DTSA) has launched a line of electric heavy-duty trucks, called eActros, as part of its Power Up electric mobility offering.

The fully battery-electric truck range includes the Mercedes-Benz eActros 300, comprising 4 x 2 and 6 x 2 wheelbase configurations, the Mercedes-Benz eActros 400 in a 6 x 2 wheelbase configuration, as well as a truck tractor variant.

This range offers zero emissions and zero noise and complements the FUSO eCanter light-duty electric trucks that DTSA launched in 2020.

FUSO was the first OEM brand to bring a 100% electric-powered truck to South Africa, paving the way for electric truck homologation in the country.

DTSA will also be launching the new sixth-generation FUSO eCanter range next year.

DTSA’s e-mobility offering includes an e-consultancy service to help customers plan the additional charging and/or renewable-energy infrastructure required to charge the vehicles and further reduce customers’ carbon emissions.

The e-consultancy offering covers the entire planning process from developing an individual e-mobility rollout plan to full depot electrification, as well as vehicle selection advice. These advisers can also assist with grid connection and navigating the regulatory environment on renewable-energy installations.

Energy engineer Shlok Kulshestha explains that, through smart charging, customers are able to charge vehicles at times when electricity tariffs are lower, which also helps to reduce the peak power demand on the grid. The e-consultancy team can provide three-dimensional modelling for customers’ depots or plants to ensure the most practical investments are made.

To accelerate the adoption of commercial electric trucks, DTSA president and group CEO Maretha Gerber says she hopes more public and private initiatives come to the fore to develop charging infrastructure across the country.

For now, DTSA is working with commercial charging infrastructure provider Aeversa to provide customers of the eActros and eCanter vehicles with charging stations, including depot design for whole-fleet conversion.

Gerber also urges government to reduce the import tariffs imposed on electric vehicles, which will reduce the capital cost of these vehicles for customers. The capital cost of the eActros models is currently three to four times the cost of a conventional diesel-powered Euro 3 truck.

In turn, the charging stations range in cost from R200 000 to R3-million to install.


The eActros 300 has three lithium-ion battery packs with a battery capacity of 336 kWh and offers a travel range of 330 km. The eActros 300 can be charged from 20% to 80% at 160 kW in one hour and 15 minutes.

The gross vehicle mass of the eActros 300 rigid variants ranges from 19 t to 27 t, offering body and payloads ranging from 8.2 t to 16.1 t.

The eActros 300 Truck Tractor has a gross combination mass of 40 t.

The eActros 400, meanwhile, is equipped with four lithium-ion battery packs with a battery capacity of 448 kWh and offers travel range of 400 km. This vehicle needs an hour and 40 minutes of charging time to power from 20% to 80% at 160 kW.

The eActros 400 has a gross vehicle mass of 27 t, offering a body and payload of up to 15.4 t.

Notably, the vehicles move so quietly that it has been fitted with a noise-making device for when the truck is approaching at under 20 km/h, for pedestrian safety.

DTSA product strategy head Justin Barnard tells Engineering News that the trucks are best suited for the fast-moving consumer goods sectors and for parcel delivery services, and can power refrigeration systems using the batteries fitted on the truck.

Both the eActros 300 and 400 models comprise Mercedes-Benz’s patented electric axle technology, which has two integrated, liquid-cooled electric motors and two-speed transmission that delivers a continuous output of 300 kW and a peak output of 400 kW.

The e-axle technology minimises power losses and ensures space for the batteries.

The trucks are able to regenerate battery energy while a vehicle is slowing down, which further helps to save power.  

DTSA sales and marketing head Deon de Vries says although the battery has reached the end of its commercial heavy-duty life when it reaches 80% efficiency, the batteries can be repurposed in storage applications to make the most of its remaining life, before ultimately being fully recyclable.

He points out that each electric truck comes with a comprehensive warranty for the vehicle, powertrain and the battery, respectively, which can be further extended through service contracts.


Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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