How well the vehicle’s main computer modulates the truck’s performance to keep the behaviour within acceptable parameters is the differentiating factor between the Fuso eCanter and other electric trucks, including the prototype eCanter, which PowerTorque has tested.
This is where the sophistication does come in. Simple electric trucks will tend to be able to accelerate very swiftly away from traffic lights and can require extra braking when slowing down for a red light. This is because the electric motor has full torque available from zero rpm and there is none of the inertia, which we experience in a diesel engine, when slowing down.
The truck tested by PowerTorque was the one displayed on the Daimler stand at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show and comes in a typical Fuso guise. This is a light duty truck, a typical around the town delivery vehicle. Of course, this particular model has a large artwork on the truck and body proclaiming its electric power technology. It is a show truck after all.
There is a nice touch on the dashboard, directly in front of the driver. In the position where we would normally see the fuel gauge indicating empty or full, we find an image which, at first glance, looks like a typical fuel bowser. In fact, the end of the wire, coming out of the bowser, is shaped like a plug, just to remind us it uses electric power.
Charging the vehicle up is a simple operation. Just behind the cabin, fixed to the side of the chassis is a large socket. The driver simply lifts the flap and plugs into the power source with which to charge recharge the batteries.
Fuso are quite conservative when talking about things like the range available to the operator with a fully charged set of batteries. By stating that this truck has a range of 100 km on one charge, Fuso are not taking any risks. Like any energy consumption on a truck, a lot depends upon driver behaviour and the way the vehicle is managed.
The computer modulation of the engine power will go along way to ensuring good energy economy from this vehicle.
Clearly, when fleets finally do get access to these vehicles they will do so on a trial basis in order to get a better handle on what sort of range these vehicles are capable of. Simply based on the experience of this test, PowerTorque is of the opinion that a smart driver will be able to get much more than 100 km out of a truck like this on one charge, especially if there is plenty of acceleration and deceleration in the day’s task.
All in all, at the end of the day this driver came away with the impression of a vehicle which really is smooth and sophisticated. Fuso have clearly done a lot of work on getting the driver experience just right in these vehicles. Not only are they great for the environment, but also a lot of fun to drive. Alongside this, is the fact that driving a shift in a truck like this with such a peaceful cabin can be a very pleasant experience.