Up close and almost personal eCanter next generation

In February 2023, Features, Fuso5 MinutesBy Dave McCoidFebruary 28, 2023

Fuso’s New Generation eCanter will really take the fight out into the streets. We may not have buried the boot in one just yet, but increases and improvements in all the right places mean we’ll be keen to do so as soon as we’re allowed… and so should you.

Sadly, we were at Fuso’s Tramagal plant in Portugal (New Zealand Trucking Dec 22/Jan23 Fuso’s Happy Place) a little too early to leap behind the wheel of the new eCanter. They were parked outside but not yet ready for media consumption. We were allowed to crawl all over them and have a good old look-see, as long as we didn’t go nuts on interior pics, due to a wee bit of design work left to do on the interior.

However, with chaperones alongside and the Polícia deployed at every intersection to keep the antipodean crazies under control, the Tramagal crew let us loose for a burn up the road in three of the current model.

The interior of the new machine is slick and purposeful. Photo: Fuso.

After five years on the scene, 450 Fuso eCanters roam the earth in Japan, Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, with total kilometres covered north of 6,000,000. As modest as all that sounds, eCanter ‘was’ limited in terms of options, and its release to the world has been tightly managed by region. A specific truck released to specific regions, pitched to a specific task. There’s no question eCanter has not just been an outstanding last-mile metro delivery proposition for its customers, but a data acquisition vehicle for Fuso and therefore Daimler.

Reuniting with this little truck is always fun, and it always impresses – so ‘zippy’. But let’s look where it goes from here.

The biggest thing with the new eCanter is the increase in choice and specification options. It’s far less ‘this is it’, and more ‘what are you after?’ “We are now offering our customers tailor-made e-mobility solutions for a broad range of applications,” says Karl Deppen, CEO of Daimler Truck Asia.

Of course, with the increase in choice comes an increase in the need for consulting services. Although there must always be an element of versatility retained in a truck like this, to a degree, eCanter now falls into the ‘tell us what you want to do, and we’ll tell you what to tick’ category. The upside is a clearer understanding of TCO and when the lines of increased purchase price and lower running cost should cross, putting you on course for a better class of Christmas holiday – if you get my drift. In Europe, at least, there’s even help with exploiting incentives and optimal charging strategies via the Daimler Incentive Tool. One would hope that sort of thing will also manifest itself in our jurisdiction.

Batteries are well-protected, and as we know in the BEV world, they’re serious when they say, ‘Do not tamper with the orange bits.’

The increase in build options makes Next Generation a far more broad- spectrum proposition, with target applications including last-mile freight delivery, food and beverage, gas bottle distribution, refuse collection, the construction industry and horticulture. In fact, at the Bauma 2022 show in October last year, two units were on display, one sporting a roll-off tipper body, and the other a factory-fitted power take-off.

Two cabs are available – a standard at 1.7m and a comfort cab at 2m. There are all the mod-cons, such as smart wheel, infotainment, digital LCD instrument cluster, and LED headlights, said to be 30% brighter than the Halogen units, with an auto-light function for controlling the headlights and Intelligent Highbeam Assist.

The trucks obviously meet all the necessary impact requirements, and in the event there’s an accident, a sensor automatically deactivates the high- voltage system.

All of the stuff you’d expect is there – Active Brake Assist 5 with Pedestrian Detection, Active Side-Guard Assist on the nearside lane. There’s also AVAS or Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, i.e. it beeps to let people know there’s a whisper-quiet truck… just there.