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Stuttgart, Germany - This is the first pure-electric heavy goods vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 26 tons and a range of up to 200km.

That puts it on a par, for short-range urban deliveries at least, with comparable diesel trucks - and it could be in production by the beginning of the next decade, almost silently humming around our cities on heavy-duty delivery routes, with zero emissions.

Big cities all over the world are now focusing on better air quality, noise pollution (although that is a two-edged sword) and restricted-access zones for, particularly, diesel-powered vehicles.

Cities such as London and Paris are already considering a ban on vehicles with internal combustion engines in city centres, which is why Daimler Trucks says it regards the development of zero-emission drives as equally important as the development of autonomous driving and connected vehicles.

Out of harm’s way

The Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck is based on a conventional heavy-duty, three-axle truck chassis - but the two rear axles are derived from the electric rear axle developed for the Citaro hybrid bus, with an electric motor just inboard of each rear hub.

There's no drivetrain as such, so the three lithium-ion battery packs are safely tucked out of harm's way between the frame rails, keeping their weight (all 1700kg of it!) low down and centralised. In addition, the EU is considering raising the permissible gross vehicle weight for a pure electric truck from 25 to 26 tons, so the payload of the eTruck will be only 700kg less than that of a comparable diesel truck.

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