Key Aspects of eTruck Operation in Cold Weather
Temperatures below zero and snow-covered or icy roads, less daylight and poor visibility – winter always presents a special challenge for trucks and drivers. It goes without saying that battery-electric trucks, such as the eActros, must also be able to handle difficult weather conditions. After all, users place the same requirements on them as on vehicles with internal combustion (ICE) engines.
Tests conducted by Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Finland at the beginning of 2023 showed that the eActros is fully operational even in very wintry conditions. But using an eTruck in winter raises a few points.
Regardless of which cell technology is installed, when the battery temperature drops due to the low outside temperature, the internal resistance of the battery increases. Power loss rises as a result, and slightly less energy content can be used. In order to reduce negative impacts on the range in cold ambient temperatures, selectable charging modes help precondition the battery at the charging station. The battery is heated, which reduces the internal resistance and enables maximum power consumption.
When the vehicle is parked in cold ambient temperatures for a longer period of time – and the battery risks dropping to a criticically-low temperature – the driver can set a departure time by which the battery is heated, cooled or brought to the optimum temperature.
At low temperatures, the heater switches on automatically during the charging process. The heating then warms the battery until current can flow again and the battery can be recharged. At temperatures below -19°C, the high-voltage battery system goes into self-protection mode in order to preserve the cell service life.
There is generally no lower limit to which state of charge batteries can attain in extremely low temperatures. This is because the vehicle switches off in due time before a deep discharge. Irrespective of the temperature, the battery is always charged to 100% if the user does not set it otherwise.
As a result of low or high battery temperatures, charging times can have a negative impact on the maximum available current of the charging station or the settings for the charging process in the onboard computer.
Many factors affect the range in cold weather. Obviously, heating the cab and the battery will have an effect. Also note that the rolling resistance of the tires and the oncoming aerodynamic flow of cold air are higher at low temperatures and cold drive bearings also have greater resistance. However, some of these factors affect short runs more than longer ones.
Extensive winter testing by Mercedes-Benz Trucks has shown that the eActros also proves its worth on snow-covered roadways. Especially thanks to the lower center of gravity as a result of the positioning of the batteries, the eActros also has excellent traction in addition to its high vehicle dynamics. As with all Actros vehicles, the installed driver assistance and control systems can also contribute to safety. This also applies to MirrorCam, featuring compact cameras that are much less susceptible to dirt, for example from slush, than traditional main and wide-angle mirrors. And... yes, you can put snow chains on the eActros since there are no design-related restrictions in this respect.
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