Daimler Truck North America has revealed it is launched a new brand name for its Fuso battery electric trucks sold in the USA, revealing the new Rizon brand name  at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo,  which starts this week in Anaheim, California.

The Rizon  line of electric trucks are actually Fuso eCanter models  which will be rebadged for sales in the US market, which will be  exclusively sold through the Velocity  Vehicle Group, which is a key dealer partner with Daimler in the US as well as here in Australia, where it purchased Daimler’s factory owned dealerships in 2021 as well as buying all of AHG’s Daimler Truck dealerships.

Daimler Truck withdrew its Fuso light/medium-duty trucks from the U.S. market in 2020 following the withdrawal of then distributor Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks America (MFTA), which handled the brand in the USA in 2020.

Daimler did run a test lease program with the Fuso eCanter in 2022 which is believed to have helped prove the viability of selling a battery electric light/medium-duty truck line up. However exactly why Daimler has chosen to launch an all new brand identity for trucks, that are sold globally under the Fuso name has not been revealed. Speculation  as to why it withdrew Fuso at the time centred around the diminishing sales for the brand, particularly up against its Japanese rivals Hino and Isuzu. Fuso sold less than 1500 trucks in the USA in 2019, the year before it was withdrawn, while Hino and Isuzu both moved around 10,000 trucks each in the same period.

It is believed that Daimler wanted a fresh start  and opted for the Rizon name to underline that the new line up will be totally electric and would not carry any baggage across from the poor showing of Fuso prior to its departure from the US market.

The long anticipated shift to electric vehicles has started to gain momentum in the USA, thanks to the Biden Administration’s policy shifts on zero emission vehicles and Daimler, which is amongst the global leaders in commercial vehicle electrification, needs product in the US class 3 to 5 categories to ensure Hino and Isuzu don’t steal a march on it. If Daimler did not re enter the market it could have seen Hino and Isuzu possibly build an unassailable lead in the light/medium electric truck market in North America. Daimler already dominates the US Heavy Duty market with its market leading Freightliner brand, as well as also owning the Western Star brand.

With US states like California requiring 50 per cent of all new commercial vehicles to be zero emission by 2032, truck manufacturers are having to start adapting  now. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also proposed sweeping emissions cuts for new cars and trucks between now and 2032, a move the EPA said could mean two-thirds of new vehicles sold would be electric within a decade. Stricter rules for medium-duty vehicle are projected to cut emissions by 44 per cent by 2026.

Daimler has announced that distribution of Rizon will start in the fourth quarter  this year through an exclusive agreement with the Velocity Vehicle Group.

Karl Deppen, head of Daimler Truck Asia, said purchase prices were falling for some vehicles that received different grants and interest in battery electric vehicles  was rising.

“There’s a lot of drive towards locally emission-free vehicles and BEVs, and that’s the perfect opportunity here,” Deppen added.

Daimler already builds  the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 106 as well as the Freightliner eCascadia prime mover, which is aimed at regional distribution and port services with a range of up to 400km.

Depending on the battery variant the Fuso based Rizon trucks will offer a range of 120 km to 200 km  and the company said it would target customers involved in urban retail logistics, last-mile deliveries and municipal work.

Rizon  says it will initially offer three model variants the US with the e18L, e16L, and the e16M, saying that it will offer a mix of configurations and options suitable for unique requirements to optimise day-to-day operations and productivity.

The class 4 and 5 medium-duty battery-electric vehicles, ranging from 7.2 tonne up to 8.5 tonne GVM,  with a range up to 260km for the L variant which uses three battery packs and up to  180km for the M variant with two battery packs on a single charge.