Daimler Trucks has chosen the IAA auto show in Hanover, Germany as the venue to introduce its concept of a fully electric commercial vehicle based on a Mitsubishi/Fuso Canter 3s13 medium-duty cabover truck. Confused?
Well Daimler AG owns 85 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and the Canter has been a global best seller in its segment for years, so the reasons for choosing it to showcase electric drive technology aren’t quite as random as they might seem. Dubbed the E-CELL, the Canter uses an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, with the batteries mounted inside the frame. The result is a zero emission commercial vehicle, one rated at 3.5 ton gross weight.
The E-CELL is considered the next step from the current diesel engined Canter (recognized as one of the most fuel efficient medium-trucks currently available), as is a diesel/electric hybrid version – of which 1000 are currently undergoing trials in various markets around the world including Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland and Japan. The Canter hybrid is said to deliver fuel savings of around 15 percent over it’s conventional diesel counterpart.
However, whether electric power for commercial vehicle applications like the Canter E-CELL can prove a valid proposition remains to be seen, especially since the push for EV passenger cars is likely to further tax an already strained electricity grid in many parts of the world and heavier commercial trucks will likely require greater energy and storage capacity than cars to operate. Still, the E-CELL remains an interesting concept and proves that no matter what sector of the vehicle market, all kinds of different options for saving fuel and reducing emissions are currently on the table.