“Now & Next” is the theme under which Mercedes-Benz Trucks is presenting its new products at the Wörth plant and giving an insight into the future of sustainable mobility. Among the new products on display is a prototype of the battery-electric eActros for heavy-duty distribution haulage; it is close to the series-production vehicle and gives a very tangible impression of the future model. Series production is due to start in 2021 at the Wörth plant – alongside the existing manufacture of trucks with combustion engines.
The eEconic, designed specifically for municipal use, is based on the Mercedes-Benz eActros and is intended to follow it into series production in 2022.
Matthias Jurytko, Head of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth said: “I’m delighted that we will be building the first generation of the Mercedes-Benz eActros here at Wörth. The start of series production next year is an important milestone for the plant and the region. We are expanding the portfolio of the Wörth plant and taking another positive step in the direction of CO2-neutral transport.” Electromobility will also open up new opportunities for employees in the production process, as new a range of tasks and job profiles will emerge as a result.
According to Matthias Jurytko: “At the site, preparations are in full swing to get our production ready for the demands associated with electric drive systems. For example, we are currently training our future specialists in the field of high-voltage systems – a fundamental area of expertise as far as the assembly of automotive batteries and the construction of electric trucks is concerned.”
The decision in favour of the site also comes with the full backing of the works council representatives. Thomas Zwick, chairman of the works council at Wörth, says: “At this time in particular, being chosen to build the first series eActros in Wörth sends out a very positive and important signal. It’s something we fought for and I am proud that we are entrusted to build our products of the future here. It means we can secure jobs here at the plant and, together with the staff, we can take the path that lies ahead: namely the transition of an entire industry to new drive systems, more flexibility and connectivity.”
Flexible truck production: electric and conventional models as far as possible on one production line
The electric truck models are set to be assembled alongside trucks with conventional drives in a flexible process. The construction of the different vehicle types should in principle be integrated as far as possible, with the basic vehicle structure being built on one line regardless of whether it will be getting a conventional combustion engine or an electric powertrain.
Certain modifications will be made to the production process to accommodate the different types of vehicle. The installation of various non-conventional drive components will take place in a separate process, as will the assembly of the electric powertrain for the eActros: the centrepiece of the eActros manufacturing process is going to be the production hall in building 75 of the Wörth plant. For around a year, work has been going on to convert the building and prepare it for the new production processes.
This includes setting up a new assembly line on which the construction of all the electrical architecture of the eActros, in particular the high-voltage components, will take place, as will its initial operation. Subsequently, the vehicles will be fed back into the regular production process for finishing and final inspection.
The eActros in series production: outstanding performance
At the IAA in 2016, Mercedes-Benz Trucks became the first manufacturer worldwide to present a heavy-duty electric truck. At the beginning of 2018, the technological leader celebrated the world première of the fully redeveloped Mercedes-Benz eActros and since the autumn of 2018 it has been undergoing intensive practical trials with customers. The vehicles for the customer tests were built in a collaborative effort between the sites Wörth, Mannheim and Stuttgart.