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UPS Deploys First Daimler Electric Trucks

The death of the internal-combustion engine is official, UPS (NYSE: UPS) is deploying Fuso eCanter electric trucks built by the world’s oldest auto company; Daimler AG (OTC: DDAIF).

The company formerly known as United Parcel Service will lease eCanters, Reuters reported. The medium-sized vehicles will apparently be used around New York City. Daimler; which owns Mercedes and Freightliner, also plans to lease four eCanters to unnamed New-York area nonprofit organizations.

The eCanters will be used to haul larger loads such as pickups from warehouses or fulfillment centers. They are about the size of moving bands and too large to be used as a door to door delivery solution.

A larger Class 7 Fuso electric delivery truck is planned, Daimler Trucks Asia boss Mark Llistosella told Reuters. That vehicle might be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show, which is scheduled for October.

World’s Oldest Carmaker Goes Electric

The eCanter trucks can move 62 miles (100 kilometers) on a charge of juice, which makes them an ideal urban delivery solution. The price of that power is still pretty high – it will cost around $180 to $200 a kilowatt hour to keep the eCanters on the road.

The eCanter will be part of an alpha test involving 500 trucks that will be marketed under Daimler’s Mitsubishi Fuso brand name. The Fusos will be built in Portugal and Japan. Daimler did not say when it will begin building electric trucks in the USA.

This is big news because Daimler was the first company to market internal combustion engine powered vehicles back in the 1890s in its German homeland. Daimler has been a serious player in alternative fueled vehicles for a long time. It has experimented with hydrogen-powered vehicles since the 1980s.

Other potential customers for the Fuso include retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and Kroger, FedEx, the United States Postal Service, and truck-rental companies including Avis-Budget, Hertz, U-Haul, Penske, and Rider. The next big step in electrics has to be faster charging, for an example a truck that can be recharged while the driver is at lunch, or when the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded at a store or warehouse.

The Age of Electric Trucks is here!

Not to be outdone, Elon Musk is planning to unveil the Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) electric semi-tractor at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on October 26, Reuters reported. The Tesla electric semi is supposed to have a range of 200 to 300 miles.

It looks as if the age of electric trucks has arrived. One has to wonder if the trucking industry is ready for these vehicles.