Fuso will introduce the world’s first all-electric light truck in Australia next February, when the Fuso eCanter, which produces zero exhaust pipe emissions becomes the first mass produced electric truck to go on sale in the country.
When Diesel drove the first eCanter in Australia, last year, it was a test bed for the concept, used as a proof-of concept for etrucks in this market. In essence, the powertrain forward of the linkage between gearbox and drive shaft has been removed.
In the space usually filled with diesel engine is a cooling system and the components which control the power and distribute the electricity, plus two batteries stacked one on top of the other. Behind this, where the gearbox normally lives is an electric motor and a direct drive transmission. There are another four batteries slung on the side of the chassis, where you would normally find the fuel tanks.
This is a very simple driveline, electrical power from the batteries spins the electric motor and that motive power is transmitted to the rear wheels via the drive shaft. No gears, no noise and no exhaust.
“The main impression from driving this truck is just how easily it appears to do the job. As the drivers of diesel vehicles, we associate engine noise with hard work, and that does not happened here, at all,” said Tim Giles in his review of the test truck. “Another surprise is just how effective the retardation is. The small exhaust brake lever on the left-hand side of the steering column on a Fuso Canter will normally make a change to the engine note and provide a little bit of retardation. Doing the same thing on a Fuso eCanter is completely different.”
The eCanter was first introduced in 2017 and is currently operating in the United States, Europe and Japan. It was developed from the ground-up using Daimler’s research and development might and has been extensively tested in harsh environments.
Fuso presented an eCanter at the 2019 Brisbane Truck Show and select Australian fleets subsequently trialed the ground-braking machine.
“The best light truck fleets in Australia have told us that safety and emissions reduction are absolutely critical for them,” said Daniel Whitehead, Daimler Truck and Bus Australia Pacific President and CEO. “It’s quite simple to take a truck, swap out an engine and replace it with third-party motor and batteries if you want an electric truck in a hurry, but the Australian market is more mature than that.
“These trucks are performing essential services around the clock in rain, hail and shine, day in, day out, so it is critical customers have confidence that they continue to perform as promised.”
Like all Canter 4×2 models, the eCanter is equipped with Advanced Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start assist, reversing camera and driver and passenger airbags.