INDIANAPOLIS. A fully electric medium-duty cabover truck based on one Mitsubishi Fuso group developed in Japan and tested in Portugal made a cameo on American shores — and the company says it believes "it is the future."
The truck was showcased at a press conference at the NTEA Work Truck Show. "It was tested by fleet customers for a year and accumulated over 500,000 km with very successful results," said Jecka Glasman, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc.
Bill Lyons, the company's vice president of sales operations, explained that 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.
The all-electric truck on display can go about 62 mi./100 km hauling more than 4,400 lbs. on a full charge and takes around seven hours to charge on a 220-volt outlet or less than an hour at special quick-charge stations. Its engine is rated at 150 hp and 479 lbs.-ft. of torque. 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, explained Chris Burdett, product engineer for Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. in Japan. 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.
"It's perfect for the inner-city, urban-driving application," Burdett told Fleet Owner. "There's lots of parcel delivery services in Japan, and we'd like to take that model and move it to other countries as well. With an electric vehicle, we can remove all those emissions from inner cities.
"Clean air for everyone, I think, is a great goal to have," he added.
"Alternative power vehicles are claiming their place in the commercial truck world," Lyons noted at the press event. "I'm sure you're aware of the pressure of ever-tighter emissions regulations, we're just a year away from the [Environmental Protection Agency's] 2017 greenhouse gas emissions regulations, and like us, all the manufacturers are trying to get to [compliance with] those regulations."