Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) recently celebrated the start of production of the world’s first all-electric light-duty truck – the Fuso eCanter. The commemorative event was held at Fuso’s plant in Tramagal, Portugal, where eCanters for the European and US markets will be produced.

The Portuguese government has supported the development of the model since 2010 and the country’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, joined members of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Europe and MFTBC executives at the event.

In a keynote address, Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, said the company was the first to produce an all-electric truck in series. “From now on we can address the growing demand for emission free delivery trucks in mega-cities.”

According to Llistosella, Mitsubishi had benefitted through close cooperation with Portuguese authorities during the truck’s test stages, prototypes having been trialed in Lisbon since 2014.

He said though the model would be launched officially in New York only in September, a number of commercial customers had already placed orders, including one in the Japanese market – the Seven-Eleven Company Ltd – which would have 25 eCanters in operation by the end of the year.

Llistosella said those trucks would be produced at Fuso’s plant at Kawasaki, which would cater for the domestic market. He said the first of a series of charging stations for trucks had already been installed in Japan.

“With these milestones, MFTB begins paving the way for large scale series production of 100% electric trucks,” he said. “Experiences of these vehicles in customers’ hands will help us to prepare for the coming year.”

At the Tramagal plant, the eCanter is produced in line with the conventional Canter light-duty trucks, with electric powertrain components installed at specific points along the production line. The first of the vehicles will be handed over to customers in Europe and the US within the next month.

The eCanter has a range of 100km and a load capacity of two to three tons – depending on body and usage. The vehicle’s electric powertrain draws its energy from six, high-voltage lithium ion battery packs that each delivers 13,8 kWh. The packs are supplied by Daimler subsidiary Accumotive, based in Kamenz, Germany.