The 7.5-tonner is said to be the world’s first mass-produced electric truck in general commercial service; and logistics giant Wincanton, parcels carrier DPD and flour miller Hovis are all operating the vehicles on a two-year unlimited mileage trial. Wincanton is to try five of the eCanters, with DPD and Hovis taking two each.
Mike Belk, managing director of Mercedes-Benz & Fuso Trucks UK said: “Fully electric trucks are no longer science fiction – we at Daimler are already manufacturing them and now we’re putting them into operation with well-known customers. We’re pleased to build on our relationships with DPD, Hovis and Wincanton in this way, as they clearly believe the Fuso eCanter is a viable proposition for their urban distribution business.”
After years of extensive development and over 90,000 kilometres of thorough testing in Europe and Japan, the eCanter is now produced in Tramagal, Portugal for the European and US markets and in Kawasaki, Japan for customers in Asia.
Following its global launch in New York in September 2017, the first eCanter vehicles were committed for delivery to companies including UPS in the USA, Yamato and 7-Eleven in Japan, and DHL, DB Schenker, Rhenus and Dachser in Germany.
The eCanter has a GVW of 7.49 tonnes and a payload of up to 4.5 tonnes depending on body and equipment. Powered by six high-voltage lithium-ion batteries with 420 V and 13.8 kWh each, the electric drivetrain with a permanent-magnet-motor delivers 129 kW (180hp) via a single-gear transmission in the rear axle.
A single charge allows effective operating ranges of over 100 km, for inner-city distribution. With the emission-free eCanter, customers not only contribute to a more sustainable urban environment, says Daimler, but are able to reduce their operational costs by up to €1,000 per 10,000 km, compared to conventional diesel trucks.
Adrian Colman, CEO of Wincanton, said the firm was delighted to introduce the vehicles to its fleet.
“The environmental challenges of delivery in urban areas, particularly in ‘the last mile’, are significant and growing,” he said.
“As a business we are committed to addressing these issues, to find cost-effective and sustainable solutions for our customers.
“The introduction of production-level electric vehicles to our fleet means we can operate more efficiently, more quietly and without locally emitted CO2.
“When we’re delivering in towns and cities, we know that this really does matter, right down to the doorstep. These vehicles are a key part of our innovation roadmap, and our growth plan for the future of urban distribution transport at Wincanton.”
Wincanton will initially trial the vehicles on inner city logistics work, with the ambition of rolling them out within its home delivery fleet.