Daimler on Thursday said United Parcel Service will be the first US commercial customer for its new battery-powered eCanter truck, and the company will expand its electric truck production as lower cost, longer-range batteries become available within two to three years.
The market for electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks is in its infancy. Manufacturers such as Daimler and Navistar International, as well as electric car maker Tesla and a host of other new entrants, are racing to overcome the challenges of substituting batteries for diesel engines as regulators crack down on carbon dioxide and soot pollution.
“The game has started,” Daimler Trucks Asia chief Mark Llistosella told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. The Fuso eCanter is a relatively small urban delivery truck, but Llistosella said larger, Class 7 electric trucks are coming and hinted that Daimler will show a larger electric truck at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. Daimler said at a news conference in New York on Thursday that UPS will deploy three of the eCanter trucks, while four New York based non-profit organisations will get a total of eight electric trucks. The trucks have a range of about 62 miles (100 kms) between charges.