Demand for electric vehicles has reached an inflection point. Tesla’s release of the Model 3 demonstrates the possibility to provide consumers with an aesthetically pleasing, semi-autonomous vehicle complimented with a reasonable pricing structure that allows automakers to target those who value affordability. This transition is not only taking place in the private retail market, but also in the commercial trucking industry, proving that electric trucks can be as practical as everyday sedans.

Daimler Trucks, the parent company of Fuso, will be introducing the eCanter, an all-electric medium duty truck, to the United States in 2017. For those who may suggest the vehicle cannot match up to its diesel counterpart, the electric truck will have the same horsepower and torque as the diesel Canter, along with the same 7,500 pound GVW. The battery-powered vehicle was submitted to a field study in Europe in which 8 prototypes with varying bodies would perform routine services.

The analysis of the data revealed remarkable results that positively support the electric vehicle producers and enthusiasts. Compared to an equivalent diesel-powered vehicle that performs the same array of services, the eCanter produced a cost savings of 64% over a testing period of one year. Not only did the truck produce zero carbon dioxide emissions, tailpipe emissions or noise pollution, but it also reduced emissions by 37% when considering emissions created by the power plants that produce the electricity to recharge the truck batteries.

The future is promising for the electric commercial trucking industry. Although the electric Fuso is not quite prepared to achieve full-scale production, the indicators show that the eCanter can serve its purposes to transport and deliver goods while maintaining a positive impact on the environment. It seems as if there is potential for the commercial trucking industry to satisfy the ever-growing demand for electric vehicles that has been evident in the private retail space. The questions that remain, however, are how long will it take, and will those commercial trucking dealerships who aspire to appeal to the future generation of truckers be adequately equipped to adapt to the industry?

In an interview conducted by MJ Reach, Jecka Glasman, President of Mitsubishi Fuso, offered her testimony on the eCanter at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis earlier this year. Glasman states, “(the truck) has a range of up to a hundred miles, a fast charging capacity of one hour as well as a standard overnight and eight hour charging capacity.” When asked about the truck’s potential, Glasman responded, “It’s the future, and the future is here.” As electric vehicles continue to slowly but surely expand in popularity, the market should prepare accordingly as this innovate technology edges its way into the commercial vehicle industry.