Monday, July 31, 2017

Electric Freight Truck Goes into Production for European and American Markets

Daimler Hopes its New Offering Will be a Quiet Success (Whilst Cynical About the Opposition)
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – AMERICAS – ASIA – Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), a brand of Daimler Trucks Asia, has celebrated the start of production of its first all electric light-duty truck, the Fuso eCanter, in Europe. The event was held at the production plant in Tramagal, Portugal, where all eCanter for the European and US markets will be produced in line with the conventional Fuso Canter freight truck. The event featured various VIP's, with the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, joining members of the government and Mitsubishi FUSO Truck Europe and MFTBC executives at the event. Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of MFTBC and Head of Daimler Trucks Asia said at the occasion:

“With today’s start of production of the eCanter, we become the first global manufacturer to produce an all-electric truck in series. From now on we can address the growing demand for locally emission free delivery trucks in Mega-Cities. We already received the first customer orders and will mark the global launch of this truck in one of the most iconic Mega-Cities, in New York, this September. Our Portuguese plant does not only produce the trucks for Europe and the US, we also benefit from a close cooperation with the authorities in Portugal and Lisbon testing the trucks there since 2014.”

In May, MFTBC announced its first commercial customer in the Japanese market, the Seven-Eleven Co., Ltd. Which will be operating 25 units of the new eCanter in their fleet within this year. In Portugal the FUSO eCanter will be produced alongside the conventional Canter light-duty truck at the Tramagal plant. The vehicles built in Portugal will be handed over to customers within Europe and the US within the next month.

The all-electric light-duty truck is Fuso’s answer to the perceived need for a zero-emission and zero-noise truck for inner-city distribution. The eCanter has a range of 100 kilometres 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. The vehicle has undergone customer trials in Portugal and Germany between 2014 and 2017 and Fuso state that in comparison to a conventional diesel truck, it offers savings of up to 1,000 Euro per 10,000 kilometres on operating costs.

The Holy Grail of electric trucks is of course those models in the HGV range and, whilst smaller electric vehicles have been established for over a century (a story of ours in 2009 shows a Daimler Mail van from 1899), we await further news of the electric semi-truck which the indomitable Elon Musk promised in April he would reveal in September (and which certain Daimler executives have been publicly sceptical of). The Tesla boss said at the company AGM in June:

”I really recommend showing up for the semi truck unveiling – maybe there’s a little more than what we are saying here.”

The Tesla boss’s ‘Master Plan Deux’ in précis is:

Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10 times safer than manual via massive fleet learning. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.

Photo: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic and Marc Llistosella, President & CEO Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation at one of the boxes along the production line of the Fuso eCanter at the Tramagal plant.