Daimler beats Tesla to electric truck production with Fuso eCanter


2017 Fuso eCanter

2017 Fuso eCanter

Enlarge Photo

Tesla may have pushed back the reveal of its electric semi-trailer truck to October, but German auto giant Daimler is moving full-speed ahead with its own electric truck plans.

This week Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz and Smart car brands as well as the Freightliner and Western Star truck brands, revealed the production-ready Fuso eCanter electric truck.

The first few hundred examples of the truck will be delivered starting this year in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Large-scale production is scheduled to commence in 2019, according to Daimler.

The automaker also announced its first major customer for the eCanter: UPS. The global shipping and logistics company will take delivery of a handful of eCanter trucks and add them to its New York City fleet. Both Daimler and UPS believe the trucks will play a major part in curbing emissions and noise pollution in the major city.

Additionally, Daimler will deliver a fleet of eCanter trucks to a handful of non-profit organizations in New York City as well, including the New York Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity New York City.

The eCanter is powered by six lithium-ion battery packs, each producing 13.8-kilowatt-hours. Daimler says the trucks will go 62 miles on a full charge, making them suitable for short city jaunts only. The trucks can also carry up to three and a half tons of cargo. Daimler has also shown concepts of longer range electric trucks destined for production later this decade.

Independent charging network provider ChargePoint will work closely with Daimler to market and establish the electric trucks in New York City, and the German automaker also announced it will invest in StoreDot, a company developing ultra-quick battery charging technology. Infrastructure will continue to be a hurdle for companies to ensure electric vehicle adoption rates grow.

 
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