Fuso has begun an Australian test program for its next-generation all-electric eCanter, that will see it running day and night, completing five double shifts a week on a loop near Melbourne.
The manufacturer first launched the zero-emission eCanter in Australia in 2021, with many units racking up kilometres on the road.
The local test regime for the new model comes in addition to a massive global Fuso eCanter test program. Fitted with a tray, the wide-cab eCanter will run half of its testing with no load and half with a full load at its Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of six tonnes.
“Fuso is determined to ensure we vigorously test our trucks, diesel or electric, in local conditions, and that is what our customers expect from an OEM with a long history in Australia,” said Fuso Truck and Bus Australia vice president Alex Müller.
“The zero emission eCanter is a serious workhorse, so we need to be absolutely sure it can toil hard around the clock in rail, hail and shine on Australian roads before we hand it over to our customers.”
He added that the test data will also enable Fuso to work with its customers to plan how the eCanter can be utlised in their operations when production vehicles are made available.
The existing eCanter was the first electric light truck with active emergency braking and the next model extends this further with additional advanced safety features.
The next generation eCanter introduces a raft of new technologies and a substantially larger line-up including different cab sizes, wheelbases and battery pack options.
One of the eCanter’s new headline technologies, not seen in other electric trucks currently available in Australia, is an eAxle, which delivers considerable efficiency gains.
In most electric truck designs, a motor is located towards the front of the truck and a driveshaft links it to the drive axle at the rear of the truck. For the next generation eCanter, engineers have built the electric motor into the rear axle itself, so there is no need for a driveshaft. This saves weight and reduces energy losses.
The various improvements are expected to increase the range above the 130km that current eCanter customers are reporting, which will meet the needs many operations in high density capital cities.
The introduction of an electric Power Take Off (PTO) also opens up a raft of new possibilities, with the truck’s electric power now able to operate tipper bodies, cranes or even a fridge body.
Despite all the advances, the new eCanter can be charged with common AC power if customers don’t want to invest in a DC charging station.
The new eCanter also features a new-look exterior, while the interior has been given a major freshen-up with a futuristic digital dash and upgraded steering wheel.
The original all-electric eCanter was the first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) electric truck launched in Australia and is working for leading fleets including Bunnings, Toohey’s, Coles, Centurion, Goldstar, Linfox, Australia Post and Team Global Express.
Fuso will open up the Australian order books for the next generation eCanter towards the end of this year.