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MIT­SUBISHI Fuso Truck and Bus Cor­po­ra­tion (MFTBC) has cel­e­brated the start of pro­duc­tion of the world’s first al­l­elec­tric light-duty truck, the Fuso eCan­ter. Fuso is a brand of Daim­ler Trucks Asia.

The event was held on July 27 at the pro­duc­tion plant in Tra­m­a­gal, Por­tu­gal, around 150km north­east of Lis­bon. The Tra­m­a­gal plant is where all eCan­ters for the Euro­pean and US mar­kets will be pro­duced in line with the con­ven­tional Fuso Canter truck.

The Por­tuguese gov­ern­ment has been sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of the eCan­ter since the early stages in 2010.

Marc Llis­tosella, pres­i­dent and CEO of Mit­subishi Fuso Truck and Bus Cor­po­ra­tion and head of Daim­ler Trucks Asia said at the oc­ca­sion: “With to­day’s start of pro­duc­tion of the eCan­ter, we be­come the first global man­u­fac­turer to pro­duce an all-elec­tric truck in se­ries.

“From now on we can ad­dress the grow­ing de­mand for lo­cally emis­sion-free de­liv­ery trucks in mega-cities,” Llis­tosella says.

“Our Por­tuguese plant does not only pro­duce the trucks for Europe and the US, we also ben­e­fit from a close co­op­er­a­tion with the au­thor­i­ties in Por­tu­gal and Lis­bon test­ing the trucks there since 2014.”

In May, MFTBC al­ready an­nounced its first com­mer­cial cus­tomer in the Ja­panese mar­ket: Seven-Eleven will be op­er­at­ing 25 units of the new eCan­ter in its fleet be­fore year’s end.

Af­ter un­veil­ing the first charg­ing sta­tion for trucks in May and start­ing pro­duc­tion at the Kawasaki plant in Ja­pan on July 7, the July 27 event sym­bol­ised the be­gin­ning of man­u­fac­tur­ing of the eCan­ter out­side of Ja­pan.

Af­ter en­ter­ing small-scale se­ries pro­duc­tion, Daim­ler is look­ing for­ward to the next step of large-scale se­ries pro­duc­tion some­time in the fu­ture.

The Fuso eCan­ter pro­duced at the Tra­m­a­gal plant is in line with the con­ven­tional Canter light-duty truck, al­though only the elec­tric-powertrain spe­cific com­po­nents will be in­stalled in spe­cific boxes along the pro­duc­tion line.

Daim­ler says the all-elec­tric light-duty truck is Fuso’s an­swer to the pub­lic’s need for a zero-emis­sion and ze­ronoise truck for in­ner-city dis­tri­bu­tion, help­ing to solve the in­creas­ing noise and pol­lu­tion prob­lems in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments across the globe.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing an en­vi­ron­ment-friendly ve­hi­cle, it is also claimed to be cost ef­fi­cient and eco­nom­i­cal for users.

The eCan­ter has a range of 100km and a load ca­pac­ity of two to three tonnes, de­pend­ing on body and us­age. The ve­hi­cle’s elec­tric powertrain con­tains six high-volt­age lithi­u­mion bat­tery packs with 420V and 13.8kW/h each. The bat­tery packs are be­ing de­liv­ered from the 100 per cent Daim­ler sub­sidiary Ac­cu­mo­tive in Ka­menz, Ger­many.

Daim­ler says the Fuso eCan­ter has ben­e­fit­ted from ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of cus­tomer tri­als con­ducted in Por­tu­gal and Ger­many with the pre-se­ries be­tween 2014 and 2017. In com­par­i­son with a con­ven­tional diesel truck, it of­fers sav­ings up to 1000 Eu­ros (A$1483) per 10,000km on op­er­at­ing costs.

Fuso has a long his­tory in al­ter­na­tive driv­e­trains for trucks. Se­ries pro­duc­tion of the Canter Eco Hy­brid be­gan in 2006, while the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion has been in pro­duc­tion since 2012.

At the 2010 IAA Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Show in Han­nover, Ger­many, Fuso pre­sented a first pro­to­type of an elec­tri­cally pow­ered Canter E-Cell, lead­ing into a pre-se­ries pro­duc­tion for test­ing pur­poses in 2014.

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