Mercedes-Benz Fuso Canter E-Cell

Portugal is far better known for its scenery and seascapes (not to mention some of its alcoholic beverages) than its place as a vehicle-testing center. But the European country is serving just that purpose for Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division and a new line of trucks. And they are of the battery-electric variety.

Daimler has sent eight of its Mercedes-Benz Fuso Canter E-Cell battery-electric trucks for customer-trial purposes to various parts of the Western European country. And these customers include the Portuguese cities of Lisbon, Porto and Abrantes as well as delivery company Transporta. These entities will be testing trucks that have about a 60-mile single-charge range and deliver 150 horsepower. The trials for the trucks, which have 14-foot beds, will last one year. Daimler hasn't released a whole lot of details on further development or sales possibilities of the model.

The hybrid version of the Fuso Canter debuted in the fall of 2009 and was under the Mitsubishi badge at the time, even though it was 85-percent owned by Daimler. That model is said to boost fuel economy relative to conventionally-powered trucks by as much as 23 percent. Take a look at Daimler's press release on the Fuso Canter E-Cell and its Portugal testing below.
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Zero emission and quiet as a whisper: eight new Fuso Canter E-Cell in customer trials

Eight Fuso Canter E-Cell in real-life testing with customers for a year

Locally emission-free and virtually noiseless

Powerful, high-torque electric motor

Battery capacity ensures range of more than 100 km

Highlight of anniversary year for the Canter assembly plant in Tramagal, Portugal

The drive system to suit: Canter Euro VI, Canter Eco Hybrid and Canter E-Cell

The cleanest technology, whatever the application: Fuso is a pioneer of "green" drive systems in the commercial vehicle sector. The Daimler subsidiary in Japan is the home of Daimler Trucks' centre of competence for hybrid technology, and with this experience behind it, Fuso has also been responsible for developing the new battery-electric-powered "Zero Emission" Canter E-Cell. The first all-electric light-duty truck, produced in a small series, runs emission-free and almost silently. The Canter E-Cell for Europe is manufactured at the Tramagal plant in Portugal. Eight vehicles have now been released for customer trials.

Runs emission-free and almost silently
The "Zero Emission" Canter E-Cell provides the answer today to the ever-increasing traffic restrictions in major conurbations that are sure to be applied over the coming years, such as road tolls based on CO2 emissions or restricted access times. It is particularly suitable for use in limited-mileage operations in environmentally sensitive areas, for example in city-centre traffic or in eco-zones and pedestrian precincts.

As a particularly sustainable form of transport, it also provides companies with an opportunity to enhance their profile with customers and the public in general.
"The Fuso Canter E-Cell allows us once again to emphasize our leadership in the field of alternative drive systems," said Dr. Albert Kirchmann, President & CEO Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation. "Led by Daimler Trucks' advanced engineering team based in Japan, our colleagues in Portugal now realized yet another big milestone, bringing the latest Daimler Trucks innovation into the world."

Eight Fuso Canter E-Cell in real-life testing with customers for a year
These customer trials with the Canter E-Cell under real-life conditions are set to run for one year. The eight Canter E-Cell are based on the Canter with a wheelbase of 3.400 mm and feature a single cab in the wide, comfort specification. Each is fitted with either a 4.3 m-long platform body or a 4.4 m-long box body.
The capabilities of these electrically-powered light-duty trucks will be put to the test under a wide range of conditions. The city of Lisbon will be using the Canter E-Cell for horticultural and waste disposal purposes, the city of Porto as a means of transport between its various municipal buildings and the city of Abrantes similarly in the field of horticulture. The company Transporta will use the Canter E-Cell for house-to-house deliveries as part of its short-radius distribution service, the energy supplier REN for transport purposes within the port area of the town of Sines, to the south of Lisbon. And lastly, the Canter E-Cell will be helping the Portuguese national postal service CTT with transport runs between its distribution centres in Lisbon.

Powerful, high-torque electric motor
Compared with the original prototype model – which celebrated its world premiere at the IAA 2010 – the Fuso Canter E-Cell has now seen considerable further development. The design of the electrically-powered light-duty truck is based on the chassis of the conventional Canter and allows a permissible gross vehicle weight of 6.0 t. The resulting payload of the chassis is therefore remarkably high, at around 3.0 t.
The electric motor in the new Canter E-Cell gives it a top performance of 110 kW (150 hp) and high maximum torque of 650 Nm. Power transmission to the rear axle is via a single-speed transmission. Both the cardan shaft and the rear axle are components that have been adopted from the Canter with combustion engine. Good performance is a given, as it is a feature of the design of an electric motor that its maximum torque is available immediately upon start-up. The top speed of the Canter E-Cell, as with all vehicles in this weight class, is limited to 90 km/h.

Battery capacity ensures range of more than 100 km
Located on each side of the frame are a total of four battery packs, accommodated in two fully encapsulated boxes. These are lithium-ion batteries with an impressive nominal capacity of 48.4 kWh. This gives the Fuso Canter E-Cell a range of over 100 km, more than many short-radius distribution trucks in fact travel in a day. Charging the batteries at 230 volts takes around seven hours, while use of a rapid-charging system can reduce this to just one hour.

The Canter E-Cell is very simple to drive: the light-duty truck is started by turning an ignition key. As with a torque-converter automatic, the driver can select between the gear settings D – N – R and P. The practical crawl function in D and R is also comparable with that of an automatic transmission - the driver can thus manoeuvre the Canter E-Cell simply by operating the brake pedal.
Highlight of anniversary year for the Canter plant at Tramagal

The handover of the eight Fuso Canter E-Cell to this group of Portuguese customers represents a further highlight of this anniversary year for the Tramagal plant, which took up production of trucks 50 years ago. The plant, some 150 km to the north-east of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, is the central production plant for Fuso Canter in Europe. Last year saw the production of around 4.000 Canter. The location is an integral part of the global production network for Daimler Trucks.

Since 2011, Daimler Trucks has invested some 27 million euros in the Tramagal plant. Also the Portuguese government has supported the Canter E-Cell project. The Canter E-Cell is built at Tramagal on a special production line for prototype models.

Since 2012, series-production of the hybrid variant of the truck, the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid, has also taken place in Portugal. The Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid squares the circle: high-tech helps to protect the environment and really pays off. The Canter Eco Hybrid reduces fuel consumption by as much as 23 percent, which means that despite the slightly higher price, the investment can be recouped within a few years.

Rather than being an experimental vehicle, the first series-production truck in its class to feature hybrid drive is a sturdy production model that is absolutely viable for everyday use. The step up to meet the Euro VI emissions standard brought with it a further reduction of the already low fuel consumption, while CO2 emissions have also been reduced. This is thanks to the longer axle ratio and an optimised gearshift strategy. The Canter Eco Hybrid boasts an array of outstanding and robust technology including a start/stop device, all-electric starting and the Duonic dual clutch transmission, which is unique in this class.
The drive system to suit your needs: Canter Euro VI, Canter Eco Hybrid and Canter E-Cell
The logical next step is now the Canter E-Cell. Fuso is thus able to offer the Canter as the only light-duty truck with a choice of three state-of-the-art drive systems: as the straightforward Canter with an economical diesel engine that is compliant with the currently applicable Euro VI and Euro 5b+ emissions standards, as the Canter Eco Hybrid with hybrid drive system and now - in the context of customer trials - as the Canter E-Cell with battery-electric drive system.