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MFTA says all-electric Canter ‘is the future’

Dec. 1, 2016
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America (MFTA) is developing an all-electric model of its Canter truck, initially based on the Canter FE130. The company tested a number of the prototype trucks in various duty cycles

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America (MFTA) is developing an all-electric model of its Canter truck, initially based on the Canter FE130.

The company tested a number of the prototype trucks in various duty cycles in Lisbon, Portugal, and found that on a full charge, the powertrain offers a range of about 62 miles hauling more than 4400 pounds. Jecka Glasman, president and CEO of MFTA, says she believes making such trucks “is the future” for the company.

“It was tested by fleet customers for a year and accumulated over 500,000 km with very successful results,” Glasman said.

Bill Lyons, the company’s vice president of sales operations, said eight test trucks were used in situations like landscaping and package delivery and one municipally by the city of Lisbon, Portugal.

“These trucks are based on the same one we sell in North America right now, the FE130, and there are some adjustments made for the electric motor,” he said.

The truck “would do very well where you have a lot of tight urban operations like in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and those kinds of cities,” Lyons said.

Chris Burdett, a product engineer at Mitsubishi working on the project, said the electric Canter has been tested and proven, and the goal for the manufacturer now is to find ways to reduce costs of the drivetrain. Coupled with lower maintenance and fewer parts used in the electric drivetrain, the goal is to be as break-even or competitive as possible in terms of cost of ownership compared with Mitsubishi Fuso’s diesel models. The electric engine produces the equivalent of 150 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque.

The all-electric truck takes around seven hours to charge on a 220-volt outlet or less than an hour at special quick-charge stations. It also recharges its battery bank as it’s driven, helping to extend available range between recharges.

The test trucks were fitted with dry van and flatbed bodies. During the testing, the electric trucks cost fleets 64% less to run than their diesel-powered equivalents based on fuel prices in the European locations where they were operated.

They also have zero emissions, being electric, and deliver a 37% reduction in CO2 emissions overall after accounting for emissions generated by the power plants that produced the electricity to power them.

“Clean air for everyone, I think, is a great goal to have,” Burdett added.

“Alternative power vehicles are claiming their place in the commercial truck world,” Lyons said.

Across the rest of Mitsubishi Fuso’s lineup, the powerplant is the company’s 3.0L turbo diesel producing 161 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque as soon as 1300 rpm. The FE130, FE160, FE160 crew cab, FE180, and four-wheel-drive FG4X4 also all have Mitsubishi Fuso’s Duonic 6-speed automated manual transmission. Gross vehicle weight ratings range from 13,200 lbs on the FE130 to 17,995 lbs for the FE180.

The company’s FusoFirst support product provides 24/7 towing, tire service, jump starts, lockout service, and fuel/DEF fluid replenishment within the trucks’ three-year warranty period as well as technician and driver training. A mobile troubleshooting app includes a “support wizard” with instructional content for drivers. ♦

About the Author

Bruce Sauer | Editor

Bruce Sauer has been writing about the truck trailer, truck body and truck equipment industries since joining Trailer/Body Builders as an associate editor in 1974. During his career at Trailer/Body Builders, he has served as the magazine's managing editor and executive editor before being named editor of the magazine in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.