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Fuso set to go electric with eCanter

Pack mule: Fuso’s electric powertrain technology trialled in this engineering mule is set to power a new all-electric delivery truck, eCanter, from next year.

Mercedes confirms 2017 launch for subsidiary Fuso’s first electric truck


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21 Sep 2016

WHILE Mercedes-Benz was showing off its futuristic all-electric truck and van concepts that promise to shake-up urban freight delivery next decade, it quietly let the cat out of the bag that its subsidiary, Fuso, is set to beat it to the punch with the sales launch of its battery powered contender, eCanter, next year.

The production eCanter is expected to break cover this week at the IAA commercial vehicle show at Hannover where Mercedes’ Urban eTruck and Vision Van have already been revealed in concept form in the past 24 hours.

These sophisticated Mercedes vehicles are still under development for probable launch beyond 2020, but the eCanter – based on a standard two-axle Fuso delivery track – has been undergoing customer trials in Portugal and Germany ahead of production, now confirmed for 2017.

A teaser shot of the eCanter has been revealed online ahead of the full reveal that will include details of the powertrain, performance and claimed driving range.

Compared with the high-tech Mercedes Urban eTruck, the eCanter is likely to be relatively straightforward, offering a simple battery-electric motor combination to replace short-haul diesel delivery vehicles in urban areas that are increasingly becoming off-limits to polluting and noisy internal-combustion trucks.

Known as the Canter E-Cell in test guise, the truck had an average driving range of 100km in its trials.

However, Mercedes is promising double that range with its three-axle Urban eTruck that is powered by a 212kWh battery pack and a pair of 125kW electric motors, each with a peak torque of 500Nm.

Sophisticated electronics help to maximise route efficiency and range, even taking into account factors such as air temperature, load weight, unloading times, traffic density and driver breaks to reduce range anxiety on short-radius delivery tasks in the cities of tomorrow.

The gadgetry even includes a sat-nav map with a graphic nicknamed ‘range potato’ – because it looks somewhat like a potato overlaid on the street map – showing the limits of driving range in the local area according to battery charge and traffic conditions.

Road sign recognition technology automatically adjusts speed to the local limit, while stored map data gives prior warning of traffic lights, bends and other road impediments.

The battery and other electric-specific parts add 1700kg to the truck’s weight, but the high torque of the electric motors at low speeds is said to cancel out any deficiency.

Also at the IAA show, the Mercedes Vision Van has been presented as “a foretaste of a future generation of vans”, not only providing electric freight delivery but sophisticated automated loading and unloading, with – possibly – local parcel delivery by a drone carried in the van.

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