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Mercedes-Benz Celebrates 25 Years of Actros

Daimler Trucks has celebrated 25 years of the Mercedes-Benz Actros model with a birthday retrospective featuring five generations of the premium hauler brought together. 

Daimler says that twenty-five years ago, Mercedes-Benz set out on a new path with the Actros – specifically for long-distance and distribution haulage.

The first generation, launched in 1996 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the truck that was invented by Gottlieb Daimler in 1896, marked the start of a model series.

"For a quarter of a century now, the Actros has been the flagship of our product portfolio. Worldwide over 1.4 million trucks sold in this premium model series are clear proof of very satisfied customers," says Andreas von Wallfeld, head of marketing, sales and services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

Numerous technical milestones, such as the first emergency braking assistance system to react independently to obstacles, Sideguard Assist, or the assistance system for semi-automated driving (Level 2), all celebrated their premiere in the Actros.

At the beginning of October 2021, series production began for the new eActros with fully electric drive for heavy-duty distribution haulage.

The German hevy-weight says since 1996, each Actros generation has played a pioneer role in terms of safety, optimum fuel consumption, networking and comfort. The Actros 1 was outstanding with its electronic brake system (EBS) fully automated gear shifting, a CAN bus and a megaspace cab with a level floor. In the Actros 2, the highlights included adaptive cruise control, Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Powershift transmission and a new stowage concept. The Actros 3 had impressive features such as the light and rain sensor and the further developed emergency braking system Active Brake Assist, and updated Powershift transmission, before the Actros 4 then set completely new standards with the new engine generation with Euro VI specification, the GPS cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control, a further developed Powershift, likewise further developed Active Brake Assist 4 with pedestrian detection, and Sideguard Assist.

Daimler says the Actros 5, which has been available since 2018, had four world premieres to offer on release with Active Drive Assist (ADA), the first assistance system in the world for semi-automated driving (Level 2) went into series production.

ADA actively assists the driver under certain conditions with longitudinal and lateral guidance of the truck and can automatically maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead, accelerate and also steer if the necessary system conditions such as sufficient curve radius or clearly visible road markings are met.

Even greater protection for pedestrians is provided by Active Brake Assist 5, the emergency brake system that can apply maximum full-stop braking in response to moving persons. Also, for the first time the outside mirrors were removed from a truck. Instead, the new Actros has the MirrorCam as standard equipment.

The fourth world premiere applied to the truck driver's workplace: the multimedia cockpit in the new Actros consists of two large colour displays – the primary colour display behind the steering wheel and the secondary display in the form of a touchscreen.

Since June 2021, the latest Actros generation has offered second generation Active Drive Assist (ADA 2) as optional equipment. The Emergency Stop Assist sub-function included in it is able to initiate an emergency stop if the driver is no longer controlling the steering wheel, despite visual and audible warnings.

In addition there is Active Sideguard Assist, also available since June 2021. This improved turning assistance system no longer simply warns the driver of moving pedestrians or cyclists on the co-driver’s side: if the driver then fails to respond to the warnings in time, it is now able to initiate an automated braking manoeuvre at turning speeds of up to 20 km/h to bring the vehicle to a standstill.

The showpiece of the latest Actros generation is the Actros L which was introduced this year and includes improved cab soundproofing, comfortable spaciousness, an even better sitting position and optionally available, newly designed LED headlamps.   

Finally, looking to the future, Mercedes-Benz Trucks says a new era began in 2021 with the eActros, the first series-production electric truck for the brand used especially for heavy-duty distribution haulage was presented to the world public at the end of June 2021.

At its technological heart is the drive unit with two integrated electric motors along with a two-speed transmission.

Both motors provide for impressive ride comfort and excellent vehicle dynamics, while the quiet and locally emission-free electric drive means the truck can also be used for night deliveries and entry into inner cities with driving bans for diesel vehicles.