Fuso Canter E-Cell Pilot Wraps Up In Portugal

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A little over a year ago, we announced that Mercedes had kicked off a Fuso Canter E-Cell pilot in Portugal to test out its light trucks in real-world environments, and the results are finally in. Delivery and transport trucks are a key opportunity for EV technology, as they typically run on diesel, idle quite a bit, and put on lots of miles in densely populated city centers. With that, and the harmful effects of diesel on humans, efforts to plug the pipes on current-generation delivery vehicles and to replace them with EVs is a constant focus for fleet-focused EV manufacturers.


1 year ago, battery technology was not where it is today, and thus, the goals are slightly scaled back vs what we would expect to see from a new product today. From the press release:

  • More than 50,000 kilometers driven
  • 64% lower costs compared with conventional diesel engines in customer field trials in Portugal
  • Powerful, high-torque electric motor
  • Targeted operating range of at least 100 kilometers achieved

A Day in the Life of an Electric Delivery Truck

FUSO Canter E-CELL Event, 10th July 2014

“On average, the electric Canter trucks traveled 50 kilometres a day, but ranges of up to 109 kilometres were achieved in practice. All in all, the eight vehicles traveled 51,500 kilometres without any problems. The most used Canter E-Cell was in service with ‘Transporta’ parcel service company and completed a distance of over 14,000 kilometres during the one-year trial. The range of the lithium-ion batteries stabilised at 100 km per charge. Charging the batteries on a 230-volt outlet takes about seven hours. That time is cut to just one hour on a quick charging system.”

The pictures below also show that this beast has what looks to be a J1772 Level 2 charging port AND a CHAdeMO adapter, which is very neat and would likely allow for more productive time on the road for these workhorses.

Regarding cost, the trial demonstrated that electric delivery vehicles and these Fuso units specifically deliver “fuel” savings in the real world.

“Calculated on the basis of today’s cost of diesel fuel and electricity in Portugal, the trial produced savings in operating costs of up to 64 percent compared with a conventional diesel truck. In practical terms, this means a Canter diesel truck burns about 14.08 litres of diesel fuel over a distance of 100 kilometres, depending on set-up and freight, while the FUSO Canter E-Cell consumes 47.6 kWh of electricity over the same distance. The amount of savings will therefore differ depending on the costs of diesel and electricity in a particular country.”

FUSO Canter E-Cell Event, 10th July 2014

Technically speaking, this Fuso truck is very capable, with a 6-tonne rating and a 150-hp motor. After taking the weight of the vehicle and batteries into consideration, this leaves right around 2 tonnes for the official load carrying capacity.

Here’s a neat video which includes more detail on this exciting product:

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1638 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field

5 thoughts on “Fuso Canter E-Cell Pilot Wraps Up In Portugal

  • Expect go-ahead cities to start writing roadmaps for electrification of delivery vehicles and putting regulatory pressure on the relevant businesses. A few low-emission zones would probably do it. IKEA rent vans to customers; going electric would be terrific advertising.

    • Yes large cities will be the leaders on this front. Think if NY, Paris, London, Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin required EV delivery truck, or a large fee per truck per day. As soon as one when that route, the pressure would mount for other to join. Even just announcing that it was coming, 2017 all trucks, 2020 all cars. Don’t go EV is fine, just pay the fee.

    • I knew you would be excited by this article. Honestly I thought BYD was going to be the first out the door with big news about electric trucks but here we are. Having said that, BYD would bring bigger news as they are already in full production mode with light trucks in China.

    • Your low-emission zones sounds great.
      Question: Even with all of the new renewables installations going in, as we go electric in the transporation realm, won’t the demands upon the grid become immense as transportation electrifies?

      We currently own a 1st gen Chevy Volt that seldom requires backup gasoline due to mostly in-town driving by my wife, and thus our roof’s PV array can handle electricity requirements. But my long daily commute (200 miles) would require a huge and Prohibitively expensive solar array addition for our home in order to power a Chevy Bolt or Tesla III. Multiplying this out as EVs take over suggests that home generation is not yet viable for many.

      I’ve fantasized home solar putting monolithic electric utilities out of business, but at least for those of us with substantial commutes, and examples like commercial delivery, it appears that we will become even more dependent upon electric utility monopolies.

      True? Is the ideal of decentralized electrification a false hope?

      • “A new study (Part 1, Part 2) for the Department of Energy finds that “off-peak” electricity production and transmission capacity could fuel 70% percent of the U.S. light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet, if they were plug-in hybrid electrics. (Note: an earlier version of this release referenced 84% capacity based on LDV fleet classification that excluded vans).”


        I don’t believe that study included the electricity which would be freed up as we extract, refine and distribute less oil.

        We’re way out ahead of providing electricity for EVs. Staying ahead shouldn’t be difficult. Especially if some of our most wasteful states would start efficiency campaigns.

        You’ve got an incredibly long commute. It would cost a lot up front to install solar to meet your driving needs.

        But do the math for purchasing electricity from the grid vs. gas from the filling station.

        A Prius burning $2.50/gallon gas costs 5 cents a mile. You probably could drive an EV for 3 cents a mile or less if you have TOU billing. Look up your personal numbers, do the math.

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