A-to-Z Rally: Team Mercedes-Benz Trucks


In last year's EV Rally, Team Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK impressed with the efficiency and range of their eActros electric truck, which was the only vehicle to not charge on the first day. We find out from James Venables and Ibrahim Kraria on what they plan to do differently this year

We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK is joining us on the rally again this year. What made you decide to get involved again this year?

James Venables, Head of Future Sustainability, Daimler Truck UK Limited: “We really enjoyed the Capital City Challenge in 2023, which proved that regional trucks like the eActros 400 can travel all around the country – all it takes is careful planning and a few truck-friendly charging hubs! This year, we are increasing the challenge with our new eActros 600 – a bigger, articulated truck which will also be carrying a load throughout the journey. Our customers rely on our trucks to be hardworking partners, and we’re committed to supporting operators in their transition to electric HGVs, so it’s going to be great to gain more real-world experience alongside the other teams, our customers and dealer partners along the way.”

Please tell us about Team Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK – who will be driving and in what vehicle?

James Venables: “Team Mercedes-Benz will be taking part with an eActros 600 40-tonne tractor/trailer combination this year, and will consist of eMobility experts and other colleagues from the Daimler Truck UK business. We are looking forward to being joined by special guests in the shape of well-known truck journalists, along with some customers who are pioneering decarbonisation in the industry.”

Last year, team Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK took part in the eActros, and did an amazing job at showcasing its capabilities. What were the highlights for you last year?

James Venables: “Covering 1,200 miles across five Capital cities last year in our eActros 400 was an unforgettable experience. Day one alone saw us covering over 300 miles on a single charge, travelling from Cardiff to Nottingham without needing to top up the battery! Day four was another highlight thanks to Ballintoy Harbour, the Iron Islands from Game of Thrones. We also witnessed incredible driving by AA patrolman of the year Dan Tyrell, who managed to manoeuvre 27 tonnes of truck expertly down the extremely narrow twisty harbour approach road.”

“The camaraderie amongst the teams and the ability to network with transport decarbonisation pioneers is another major highlight, along with the abundance of EV Rally coverage and interaction on social media.”

What will you be doing differently on this year's Rally, and why?

James Venables: “Last year saw us take a truck without a load to simplify the process of getting a ferry to Belfast. This year, our loaded eActros 600 40-tonne tractor/trailer combination will take things to another level, bringing a real-world perspective to the 1,400-mile journey and demonstrating the true capabilities of our latest zero emissions HGV.”

The Rally is over 1,400 miles and this year will be visiting towns and checkpoints from A to Z in alphabetical order. As you have completed the rally before, what learnings will you be bringing with you to help you with your strategy this year?

James Venables: “A rich array of drinks and snacks is always a good start! The main challenge for us is finding truck-friendly charging. While we have seen an incredible uplift in the availability of rapid car charging options over the last couple of years, finding suitable public truck charging on the UK strategic road network can still be a challenge, so we often make use of non-public truck charging or big ultra-rapid car-charging spaces. Therefore, a vital part of our preparation is forward planning the route and understanding the energy consumption using our range prediction software, just as we do for our customers during our eConsulting process. With this information we can predict the best places to stop for charging en-route, although with a range of over 300 miles, our eActros 600 will not be a frequent sight in charging hubs!”

What improvements do you hope to see in the public charging infrastructure for HGVs?

Ibrahim Kraria, eConsultancy Manager at Daimler Truck UK Limited: “While it’s certainly true that we need more public dedicated HGV charging on our roads, it’s crucial that we ensure we’re investing in the right infrastructure. High powered and megawatt charging systems are incredibly effective for electric HGVs and allow battery top-ups to be perfectly integrated with mandatory driver breaks, which really does make perfect sense. Many of our customers plan to have depot charging facilities available, but better public infrastructure will help us continue to build confidence and enable the switch to sustainable transportation.

“In addition to the technical and power needs, public charging should be cost competitive and work intelligently – for example, allowing drivers to pre-book and view availability of the network in advance of their journey. At Daimler Truck, we’re proud of our joint venture, Milence, with Volvo Group and Traton Group that will see us take charge of building public infrastructure across Europe, and welcome other companies also taking part in their own initiatives.”

Why are events like the EV Rally important for the freight & logistics industries?

Ibrahim Kraria: “When it comes to new technologies, seeing is believing – the EV Rally allows us to demonstrate the true capabilities of our electric HGVs. We understand this builds confidence in the switch to e-mobility. Together we have one planet and share the same goal, whether we’re talking about trucks, vans, cars or any other type of vehicle, and the team spirit and motivation of everyone involved in the EV Rally certainly reflects this.”

Please tell us about Mercedes Benz Trucks’ own sustainability plans and progress?

Ibrahim Kraria: “We all understand that sustainable transportation is the future, and Daimler Truck is in a great position to lead in this area. In 2039, we plan for our entire model range to consist of zero emissions vehicles, and will achieve this through a dual strategy that considers electric and hydrogen (both combustion and fuel cell). The switch to sustainable transportation must start now, and our new eActros 600 offers customers the perfect solution.”

“We’ve also recently rolled out our comprehensive eMobility training across our dealership network, and now offer e-consulting for all customers who are considering making the switch to our latest zero emissions models and ecosystem offerings. The eActros 600 is the latest edition to our BEV portfolio, and we’re delighted to be showcasing its credentials to media guests and customers alike during the EV Rally 2024.”

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