As electric cars careen towards the mainstream, the world's truck manufacturers are also working to make the most of battery power to cut local CO2 emissions and running costs. Daimler is attempting to demonstrate the benefits of moving to electric trucks by running four Fuso E-Cell trucks in Stuttgart, where they'll deal with everything from road construction to furniture delivery.
Daimler's Stuttgart test comes on the back of a similar exercise in Portugal, where freight companies and horticultural businesses found the six-tonne Canter trucks were up to 64 percent less expensive than diesel trucks to run. With a range just over 100 km (62 mi), which is on par with the electric trucks doing deliveries for BMW around Munich, the Canter E-Cell was able to handle most short-range delivery and urban transport needs with range to spare at the end of the day.
Having charged the trucks for seven hours on a regular socket, or just one hour on a quick charger, Daimler says owners can expect a savings of up to €1,000 (US$1,135) for every 10,000 km (6214 mi) travelled.
Power comes from battery packs mounted to the sides of the truck's frame. As is the case with passenger cars, the batteries are very heavy, adding 600 kg (1,323 lb) to the Canter E-Cell's curb weight, but Fuso claims the trucks are still sprightly off the line thanks to their beefy 650 Nm (479 lb.ft) of torque. The permanent-magnet motor is attached to the rear wheels, and puts its power down through a single speed gearbox.
One of the biggest concerns for people constantly driving around densely populated areas is avoiding people, so Fuso has fitted a subtle external audio system to warn people there's a quiet, six-tonne truck zipping past.
The Stuttgart test will see two electric Fusos fitted with tipper bodies for road construction and landscaping, while the other two will have box bodies for furniture transport and waste bin deliveries.