After several years of testing with customers in Germany and Portugal, Daimler partner Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has started production of its light truck. The FUSO eCanter is completely electrically powered and is designed for inner-city delivery traffic. Accordingly, the first customer with UPS is a company that will use the vehicle to supply customers from the logistics center. The customer’s deployment scenario corresponds to the performance profile of the FUSO eCanter: during the day, the truck covers relatively short inner-city routes with many intermediate stops; it can be loaded overnight at the operator’s branch office.
One battery charge is enough for a journey of about 100 km (62 miles) with a payload of about 3.5 tons. The vehicle’s electric powertrain consists of six high-voltage lithium-ion batteries with 420 V each and a total output of 13.8 kWh. The operating costs are said to be lower than those of a conventional diesel version: A saving of up to 1000 euros is to be achieved on a distance of 10,000 km (which corresponds to a mileage of about four months).
The Fuso eCanter is the result of a development initiated by MFTBC: in 2010, Fuso presented its first prototype; in May 2017, the Japanese partner announced its first commercial customer in the Japanese market. Among the assets that Daimler has contributed are the Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH for local energy storage solutions. Today Daimler also announced an investment in StoreDot, an Israeli startup company known as a pioneer in the development of nanotechnology materials. These materials enable ultra-fast battery charging.
The eCanter is produced by MFTBC in Tramagal, Portugal. It is planned to produce 500 pieces for selected customers.
Incidentally, there is a company that is somewhat further afield – a company that would actually be predestined as a potential customer for such vehicles: Deutsche Post DHL, Germany’s largest logistics company. Due to a lack of suitable offers on the market, the company began to build its own small electric truck a few years ago. This vehicle, the StreetScooter, proved to be a great success: Originally, the small truck was only designed for its captive market; in view of the demand from other companies, Deutsche Post initially launched a small series. Together with Ford, the company has meanwhile developed the much larger StreetScooter Work XL, which will be built in a quantity of around 2500 units by 2018.