While Tesla is sprucing orders that may be filled several years from now Daimler has started delivering actual electric powered trucks to customers in the USA and Europe.

Deutsche Post DHL, DB Schenker, Rhenus and Dachser are now in control of the first its all-electric Fuso eCanters in Europe.

Daimler Trucks reckons the vehicles will play an important part in the companies’ sustainable fleet management, especially in urban delivery transport and various other logistics tasks. The logic follows that of US companies in their attraction to electric and alternative fuel prime movers.

Daimler says all its truck and bus models will offer an electric variant over the next few years,.

“More than  90,000 kilometres of testing has been completed in everyday conditions and we feel confident that we are  handing over a reliable and economical vehicle to our customers,”  said Marc Llistosella  head of Daimler Trucks Asia .

“With the Fuso eCanter our customers now operate not only quietly and without locally emitted CO2, they also save money on operating costs. This is the future of urban distribution transport.”

The logistics firms gain the vehicles through a 24 month lterm rental from CharterWay, Daimler’s commercial-vehicle rental and leasing operation.

The eCanters’ drivers will be trained to operate the vehicle.

Deutsche Post DHL will use its six vehicles in two divisions. Two will perform inner city delivery runs of business and private customers of DHL Freight’s Berlin branch, for heavy individual cargo such as electrical or large household appliances. DHL Paket will use four for the delivery of goods to businesses and corporate clients that will be integrated in existing business processes and will replace the vehicles with conventional drivetrains.

“The usage of alternative drivetrains, as in the all-electric Fuso eCanter, plays a major role in reaching our corporate goals to reduce all logistics related emissions to zero until 2050,” DHL Freight CEO Uwe Brinks says.

“DHL Freight is firmly committed to playing its part in this. With the help of the eCanter we want to reduce emissions and local air pollutants of our logistics and so optimize our own CO2 footprint as well as our customers’ one.”

The new vehicles are, for DB Schenker, an opportunity to test a series production electric vehicle for inner city logistics under real-life production conditions. Among other tasks, one of the three trucks will deliver and collect general cargo in the inner city of Berlin.

“We have been working for years toward becoming the global leader in ‘green’ logistics for our customers,” DB Schenkerchief operating officerEwald Kaiser says.

“Using the new eCanter is the next logical step to further our already existing eco-friendly solutions in overland transport, so that we can reach our goal to reduce the CO2-balance of our entire logistics operations around 30 percent.”

For Rhenus its home delivery unit will use three units. From the central warehouse in Hoppegarten, the all-electric trucks will deliver furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and heavy sports equipment to inner-city Berlin.

“We follow a sustainable corporate philosophy,” Nicolas Rottmann, head of Rhenus Home Delivery, says.

“In addition to introducing no-paper deliveries we have been preoccupied with eco-friendly alternative drivetrains for a long time.

“The eCanter is now giving us an opportunity to test battery-based electric vehicles in our fleet.

“On account of short distances from our central warehouse in Hoppegarten to our end customers, the inner city of Berlin provides an ideal surrounding for a sustainable all-electric vehicle.”

Two units will go to the general goods transportation last mile business. They will handle pallets with industrial goods either at micro-hubs or goods that are delivered directly to the customer, as well as collecting goods and delivering them to the Dachser branches. At these branches, the eCanters will recharge overnight using a high-voltage loading station.

“The vehicles are components in our project ‘City Distribution’ and complement our innovative and sustainable concept for delivery in cities,” says Dachser’sStefan Hohmcorporate director, corporate solutions, research and development.

“In each city, it is about putting together an ideal vehicle-mix and to combine the fleet with innercity micro-hubs.

“We have decided on the Fuso eCanter, because the vehicle is the first series-produced electric truck and so will give the entire commercial vehicle class a push.

“Furthermore, Daimler CharterWay has been a partner of our fleet for many years, on which we can rely in terms of city logistics in the future.”

Daimler explains that, depending on body and field of application, the eCanter can carry up to 4.5 tonnes.

The vehicle‘s electric power train contains six high-voltage lithium-ion batteries with each 420v and 13.8 kWh.

An electric drivetrain with a permanent-magnet-engine delivers 129 kW (180hp) via a single-gear transmission in the rear axle.

There is 285Nm of continuous output allowing the 7.49 tonnes truck “to accelerate almost like a passenger car and are available from the first second of driving”.

The maximum speed of the eCanter – like with any other vehicle of its weight class – is limited to 80km/h.

Batteries with a total weight of about 600kg allow a range of more than 100km.

With electric propulsion leading to a proliferation of truck makers not seen in more than a century, another one has emerged in the US.