Tesla already has some competition in the nascent electric truck space.
Mitsubishi FUSO, a truck unit run by Mercedes’ parent company Daimler, launched its battery-powered truck in lower Manhattan on Thursday. Called the eCanter, the small truck can drive up to 80 miles on a single charge. UPS, the Bronx Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Reuse have all leased a handful of trucks for the next two years.
The eCanter can carry a little over three tons (7,000 pounds) and reach a top speed of 50 mph. Municipalities and private companies in Tokyo and Lisbon have also leased the truck.
Mitsubishi FUSO will produce 10,000 eCanter trucks once it enters full-scale production in 2019.
The launch came a half-day after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he would unveil an electric semi in October. Tesla’s big-rig truck is rumoured to have a 200- to 300-mile electric range and self-driving capabilities, Reuters reported in August.
Mitsubishi FUSO’s eCanter truck is much smaller than a semi, but the company plans to unveil a heavy duty truck in October at the Tokyo Auto Show that could more closely compete with Tesla’s semi reveal, Marc Llistosella, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia, told Business Insider.
“We like that we have someone that’s pushing us and this is a competition of innovation: who can do it first, who can do it faster, who can do it more sufficiently,” Llistosella said of Tesla in a Thursday interview. “In light duties, I would say it looks good. In heavier [duties], we have the Tokyo Auto Show and then we will also have something to tell.”
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