Delivery giant DPD, baking business Hovis and logistics firm Wincanton have taken delivery of the first eCanter fully-electric light duty trucks in the UK.
Nine of the 7.5 tonne trucks, which have been developed by Mitsubishi Fuso, a part of the Daimler Group, are now in operation in the UK after having been handed over at a launch event in London on Friday (16 March).
Formally unveiled in New York in September, the eCanter is Daimler Trucksâ€™ first fully-electric light-duty vehicle. A number of customers in Germany, including DHL, DB Schenker, Rhenus and Dachser are also trialling the vehicles.
Daimler Trucks has set a target for all truck and bus models to offer one additional electric variant in coming years â€“ particularly as cities look to clamp down on the use of diesel in polluted areas.
According to Marc Llistosella, head of Daimler Trucks Asia and president and chief executive of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, the vehicles represent the future of emissions-free deliveries in major urban areas.
Speaking at the launch event for customers and media on Friday at Londonâ€™s Printworks, he said: â€œAfter our launches in New York, Tokyo and Berlin, we are proud to hand over the all-electric eCanter to visionary customers in London. As an emission-free and quiet alternative to conventional trucks, the eCanter is the ideal solution for sustainable urban delivery.
â€œBut, we do not stop here. Having access to Daimlerâ€™s vast global network, we are committed to cooperate with and support local governments in building an E-ecosystem and necessary infrastructure to facilitate the growth of environmentally-friendly distribution systems. At the same time, we are excited to be able to work with cities such as London as they work to create a greener and more sustainable urban environment in the UK.â€
The eCanterâ€™s electric powertrain contains six high voltage lithium ion battery packs with 420 V and 13.8 kWh each, providing an operational distance of between 100 and 140 km on a single charge according to the manufacturer.
Estimates by the charging infrastructure provider Chargemaster suggest that the cost to fuel the vehicle will total around 10-17 pence per mile, based on a 100km capacity. This works out at about Â£10 per full charge, but is likely to be more cost efficient if the vehicle achieves closer to the 140 km range that it is capable of, according to the manufacturer.
Package delivery firm DPD, which operates a fleet of over 2,340 vehicles in the UK, has taken on two of the eCanter trucks, Hovis will run two of the trucks, and Wincanton, which is thought to be the UKâ€™s largest logistics firms, will incorporate five of the eCanter trucks into its 3,600-strong fleet. All of the vehicles will be operating predominantly in London.
Research by Daimler Trucks has suggested that more than two thirds of its light duty truck customers (70%) would need to operate the vehicles over more than 60 miles per day, and could therefore be able to incorporate electric trucks into their fleet.
The eCanter is the ninth generation of Fusoâ€™s Canter truck range, which first launched in 1963. An estimated 4,000,000 versions of the truck have been sold worldwide.
Growth in sales of zero emission vehicles, particularly private cars have seen major growth in recent years, although the market for commercial vehicles remains relatively slow to catch up.
Welcoming the delivery of some of the first fully electric light duty trucks in the UK market, Transport Minister Jesse Norman, said: â€œEmissions from heavy goods vehicles represent one of the biggest environmental challenges we face in the transport sector. Daimlerâ€™s development of vehicles that can operate with zero emissions in urban areas, reducing pollution and noise, represents an exciting prospect.â€