1-year customer field trials of FUSO electric Canter in Portugal show 64% lower costs, 37% reduction in CO2 given local power mix
Daimler has concluded customer field trials with eight pre-production Fuso Canter E-Cell electric trucks (earlier post) in Portugal. In addition to delivering a 64% savings in operating costs compared to conventional diesel trucks, the Canter E-Cells also reduced CO2 emissions by 37% compared to diesel, taking into account the current power production mix in Portugal.
FUSO developed the battery-powered and locally emission-free Canter E-Cell at the Daimler Trucks Center of Competence for Hybrid Technology. To prove the practicality of the Canter E-Cell, FUSO sent eight of them on a field trial in mid-2014. All eight vehicles travelled the roads of Portugal and were permanently monitored and analyzed during the one-year field trial. The Canter E-Cell trucks were equipped with platforms and box bodies. They were operated by couriers and freight forwarding agents as well as by municipalities and public works departments.
On average, the electric Canter trucks travelled 50 kilometers (31 miles) a day, but ranges of up to 109 kilometers (68 miles) were achieved in practice. All in all, the eight vehicles travelled 51,500 kilometers (32,000 miles) without any problems.
The most used Canter E-Cell was in service with “Transporta” parcel service company and completed a distance of more than 14,000 kilometers (8,700 miles) during the one-year trial. The range of the lithium-ion batteries stabilized at 100 km (62 miles) per charge. Charging the batteries on a 230-volt outlet takes about seven hours. That time is cut to just one hour on a quick charging system.
Calculated on the basis of today’s cost of diesel fuel and electricity in Portugal, the trial produced savings in operating costs of up to 64% compared with a conventional diesel truck. A Canter diesel truck burns about 14.08 liters of diesel fuel over a distance of 100 kilometers, depending on set-up and freight, while the FUSO Canter E-Cell consumes 47.6 kWh of electricity over the same distance. The amount of savings will therefore differ depending on the costs of diesel and electricity in a particular country.
The capabilities of the electric light-duty truck were tested under a wide range of conditions. The City of Lisbon used the Canter E-Cell for the disposal of vegetation and waste; the City of Porto used it as a collection vehicle for recyclables; the City of Sintra for forest management; and the cities of Abrantes and Cascais likewise for landscape maintenance. Transporta parcel service used the vehicle for door-to-door deliveries to households; energy supplier REN for transport purposes within the industrial gas depots in the cities of Sines and Pombal. Finally, the Canter E-Cell also assisted the Portuguese postal service CTT with transport operations between the distribution centres of Lisbon and Coimbras.
The results of the practical tests show that the eight vehicles stood the test of daily use in short-distance delivery and city center transport. With operating ranges of more than 100 kilometers, the Canter E-Cell trucks surpassed the average distance that many trucks used in light-duty distribution transport travel each day.
The Portuguese government co-financed the research project through IAPMEI, the State Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation.
The electric Canter has been advanced continuously, starting with the first prototype on display at the IAA 2010. Today, it produces a rated output of 110 kW (150 hp) and a peak torque of 650 N·m from four lithium-ion battery packs with a capacity of 48.4 kWh. Top speed of the Canter E-Cell is limited to 90 km/h (56 mph).
From the outside, the FUSO Canter E-Cell is only distinguished from its diesel-powered or diesel-electric powered brethren by the battery packs mounted to the two sides of the frame. An electric powertrain takes the place of the three-liter diesel engine behind the unchanged Canter cab. The permanent magnet motor sends 110 kilowatts (150 hp) of power to the rear axle via a one-speed transmission.
The chassis frame is approved for a total weight of six tonnes. The wheelbase of 4300 millimeters offers space for bodies up to 4.40 meters in length, the weight of which must be subtracted from the chassis load-bearing capacity of three tonnes. The remaining payload of a little over two tonnes is more than adequate for most transports in urban distribution operations.
A peak torque of 650 N·m (479 lb-ft) accelerates the six-tonne truck almost like a passenger car. The driving pleasure is tremendous, as participants reported from the trial phase. The hefty torque is available instantly and at a traffic light leaves many a mid-range car behind.
As soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the electronics switch to energy recovery mode, the effectiveness of which can be set to two different levels on the right-hand steering column stalk. Drivers who use energy recovery in the Canter E-Cell regularly can achieve an operating range of more than 100 kilometers on one “tank filling”.
To prevent the Canter E-Cell’s silent rolling from creating hazards, the trucks are fitted with the acoustic VSP warning system (vehicle sound for pedestrians), which can be activated at the push of a button.
The light-duty truck is started by turning the “ignition key”. As with a torque-converter automatic, the driver can select between the gear selector positions D, N, R and P. The practical crawler function in gear selector positions D and R is also comparable to an automatic transmission (“D” for Drive, “P” for Park, “N” for Neutral, “R” for Reverse).The driver can maneuver the Canter E-Cell simply by operating the brake and the accelerator pedal.
The Canter E-Cell is built in Tramagal on a separate production line for prototype models. Since 2011, Daimler has invested about €27 million in modern production facilities for a plant that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. The Tramagal plant, some 150 kilometers north-east of Lisbon, occupies an area of 39,900 square meters and is part of the global integrated production network of Daimler Trucks.