20 battery-powered trucks will join a pilot program in Germany.Mercedes-Benz will introduce an all-electric heavy-duty truck before the end of the year. A small handful of trucks will be produced and put in the hands of real-world customers as part of a pilot program.The yet-unnamed model will be inspired by the Urban eTruck concept (pictured) that debuted last year. It will have a payload of about 28,000 pounds, and it will be capable of driving for up to 120 miles on a single charge. However, Mercedes' truck-building division is keeping additional technical details under wraps for the time being.
120 miles of range isn't much, and Mercedes stresses the truck is best suited to urban deliveries. Some of the prototypes will be used to delivery dry, non-perishable goods, while a few will be outfitted with a refrigerated cargo box. Finally, a handful will receive a flat tray to carry construction material.
20 customers have been selected to participate in the pilot program, which will kick off in Germany. The data gathered during the year-long test will be used to fine-tune the production model, which is expected to arrive in 2020 at the latest.
Few fleet operators are willing to buy a truck with a 120-mile driving range, but Mercedes expects the technology will advance at a rapid pace in the coming years. The company's engineers predict the cost of batteries will drop to 200 euros per kilowatt-hour by 2025, while energy density will greatly increase.