Some two thousand years ago in ancient Rome, the streets and alleyways were so congested during the day that all horse and carriage activity was restricted to the evening hours while the people of Rome slept…or at least tried to! The result was a noisy city that never rested, forcing many to move out of the city for some peace and quiet.
Fast forward two thousand years and see the future of quiet transportation unfold with the inventive technology of Daimler Trucks, which launched a light-duty electric truck to make the world’s clogged streets cleaner and hopefully a bit quieter.
Daimler Unveils Light-Duty Electric Trucks
Daimler revealed its new Fuso eCanter, an electric light-duty truck manufactured using the Mitsubishi Fuso brand. Some basic stats: The light-duty truck has a range of 60 to 80 miles on a single charge. Final mileage is dependent on the truck body, load and other usage factors commented Marc Llistosella, CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp.
Aiming to test the trucks on the streets of New York City, Daimler donated a fleet of trucks to several New York City non-profits to get the word out. This news was met by New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio with a big smile. Electric trucks are critical to helping New York City reduce vehicle emissions.
Chalking up a major victory, Daimler also inked a deal with UPS Inc. as the first commercial customer in the U.S. According to the Transport Topics Top 100 list, UPS Inc. ranks as the largest for-hire carrier in North America.
Daimler Joins the Crowd
While Daimler is making significant strides in the electric truck sector, it’s joining the electric vehicle race behind diesel-engine maker Cummins Inc., which also beat Tesla Inc. as the first innovator in the electric truck space. Cummins unveiled a fully electric “urban hauler” vehicle with a projected 100 mile range. Tesla has announced that on November 16, it will change the freight transportation industry with a new electric-powered semi that will likely have autonomous-driving capabilities.
While these other innovative companies seem to have beat Daimler to the punch, Llistosella said Daimler is actually way ahead of perceived competitors, stating that the Fuso eCanter is the first “mass produced” electric truck. Fuso is expected to deliver more than 10,000 of these light-duty trucks in 2019. In a special arrangement, UPS has agreed to lease the trucks as a trial. Daimler offers clients two-year leases for about $1,000 a month. Llistosella commented that Daimler is leasing rather than selling early on, so that early customers will receive battery upgrades as the technology improves.
Is Electric Better Than Diesel?
The Fuso eCanter is priced higher than a diesel truck and has 10% less maximum payload, but that doesn’t seem to bother buyers interested in lower ongoing maintenance and fuel costs. Daimler assures buyers that the price increase will be offset in 2-3 years because of increased efficiency and lower maintenance costs.