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Fuso Confirms Australian eCanter trial

E-commerce: Fuso beat the world to the first pure electric commercial vehicle and the Canter-based green truck is now in its third generation.

World’s first electric light truck coming Down Under for Fuso eCanter evaluation


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29 Sep 2016

FUSO has selected Australia as one of its key trial regions to evaluate the third-generation all-electric eCanter truck, with the first examples expected to be seen gliding silently on local roads in 2017.

The updated version of the world’s first pure-electric light-duty truck broke cover at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover last week revealing a bold new look and enhanced performance.

Customers in Europe, the United States and Japan will take delivery of the first examples of a small production run next year, and the Australian trial could spark enough interest for a handful of local orders as well.

While many car- and truck-makers are deep into the development of pure-electric commercial vehicles, including Fuso’s parent company Daimler, the German-owned Japanese brand is way ahead of the pack in offering a showroom-ready model, that continues to undergo development and improvement in real-world trials.

In its latest-generation, the eCanter is powered by a single-speed 185kW/380Nm synchronous electric motor fed by a 70kWh lithium-ion battery, but unlike most passenger applications, the truck’s battery layout is customisable.

For the trial versions, the battery cells are distributed in five locations about the chassis to maximise load space while offering a 100km range depending on the load and conditions, but customers will be able to choose a bespoke layout that could forfeit range for a larger cargo volume.

The battery cells are liquid-cooled, are most efficient in relatively high ambient temperatures and available in a range of charging rates, from around 80 per cent in one hour using a special fast charger, or a full charge in seven hours using conventional mains power.

With continued development and emerging battery technology, Fuso says an 80 per cent charge will soon be possible in just 30 minutes.

In relatively small passenger applications, electric drivetrains are often more expensive than the combustion engines they replace, but the significant cost of commercial diesel engines can differ less than the electric drivetrain.

In the case of the eCanter customers are charged a small premium for the electric variant when compared with its diesel equivalent, but the truck-maker also points out the potential operational savings after purchase.

Fuso predicts that owners could potentially recoup any extra costs within three years, or approximately €1000 ($A1460) per 10,000km.

The truck-builder also points out the potential savings offered by using a zero-emissions vehicle in heavily taxed metropolitan regions around the world, where the measures aim to discourage the use of polluting vehicles of all sorts.

Single-speed electric drivetrains are inherently more simple than combustion engines with multi-speed transmissions, and servicing downtime and cost is another clear advantage for the eCanter over diesel trucks.

A low noise drivetrain will also appeal to many customers using light trucks in urban areas and during late hours, compared with clattering diesel engines, says Fuso.

The show vehicle that debuted the third-gen electric truck is decorated in a smart metallic blue paint and features futuristic LED headlights with matching foglights and a cool-blue illuminated grille, along with some additional exterior flourishes.

The high-tech touches continue in the cabin with a full-digital instrument cluster and more blue illumination, although Fuso has not said if customers and trial vehicles will be offered the same conspicuous looks.

A number of brands including Fuso already offer diesel-electric hybrid options for significant fuel saving in frequent-stop applications, while Volkswagen is gearing up to offer a full-electric version of its Crafter van.

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