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
“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.”
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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