Highlighting the evolving need for clean, quiet, dependable transportation in large urban centers, Mitsubishi Fuso today announced that it is beginning series production of its eCanter, all-electric truck.
The company, a division of Daimler AG, said the move makes the eCanter the first all-electric truck to go into full production worldwide. The truck is being built at facilities in Japan and Europe, and is on sale now, according to Marc Llistosella, chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks Asia. “This truck is not a prototype,” Llistosella insisted at the press conference. “This truck is for sale and coming this year.”
According to Llistosella, the new eCanter truck has been undergoing extensive real world testing in both Germany and Portugal for the past two years. The company will conduct additional eCanter unveilings next month at the Tokyo Motor Show and before year’s end in Berlin, reflecting the focus on the types of cities the truck was designed to work in. Citing the truck as a “gamer changer,” he said New York City expects to see 50 all-electric eCanters in service before the end of the year.
Llistosella said the all-electric medium-duty eCanter is Daimler Trucks' answer to the public’s need for a zero-emission, zero-noise truck for inner-city distribution.
The Fuso eCanter has a range of approximately 62 miles and a load capacity of two to three tons – depending on body and usage. The vehicle’s electric powertrain contains six high-voltage lithium ion battery packs with 420 V and 13.8 kWh each. Compared to a conventional diesel truck, Daimler said it offers savings of more than $1,000 in operating costs for approximately every 6,200 miles. Llistosella added that the truck’s range could “easily” be increased to 100 miles per day, depending on payload and battery capacity.
According to Llistosella, Mitsubishi Fuso will charge a premium (undisclosed) price for the all-electric eCanter and calculates that fleets will be able to realize $1,000 in savings for every 6,500 miles the truck runs in the configuration displayed at the press event. He added that he expects to see acquisition costs come down as product ramps up and economies of scale come into play. “However,” he said, “those return on investment figures are based on normal usage in cities today. Many large cities, however, are introducing noise and congestion entry barriers at certain times of the day that can seriously limit when diesel trucks can legally operate. In these cases, fleets will be looking at a much different business case and be able to offer delivery services not allowed with diesel trucks. In those instances, the eCanter’s payback time is much shorter.”
Piggybacking on the Mitsubishi Fuso announcement, UPS announced at the eCanter launch that it will be putting three of the medium-duty electric trucks in service in North America for evaluation, according to Carlton Rose, president, global fleet maintenance & engineering, UPS, who spoke at the event.
Rose did not say where in the U.S. the trucks would be deployed. UPS will be the first commercial customer in the U.S. to use this series-produced vehicle. UPS will deploy the trucks in the U.S. at locations to be determined. The new EV trucks build on UPS’s Rolling Laboratory fleet of more than 8,500 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
“At UPS, we constantly evaluate and deploy advanced technologies that enable sustainable, innovative solutions for our fleet,” Rose said. “Electric trucks make our fleet both cleaner and quieter. We have a long-standing global relationship with Daimler, and we welcome the opportunity to trial the Fuso eCanter as UPS continues to realize the benefits of electric trucks.”