Mitsubishi Fuso & Ample trial truck battery swapping
Mitsubishi Fuso (MFTBS) and Ample are partnering to test battery swap technology for electric trucks. The cooperation will start with a pilot project in Japan, where a Fuso eCanter will be equipped with modular batteries that will be automatically replaced at Ample stations within five minutes.
Vehicle tests on public roads in Japan are planned for the coming winter. The test deployment should allow the two companies to evaluate customer experience, scalability and potential for commercialization in the domestic market.
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBS) was formed in May this year when Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturers Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus and Hino Motors merged for commercial vehicle development, procurement and production with a view to electrification. Daimler Truck and Toyota, which own the above-mentioned brands, are equally investing in the listed holding company of Fuso and Hino.
Although Daimler’s eCanter can satisfy urban transport needs with ranges between 99-324 kilometres, regional and international routes need more range and charging time can cost companies valuable hours on the road. Battery swapping for trucks also offers a number of advantages like enabling easier evaluation of batteries for second-life uses and recycling, as well as potentially more easily balancing local grids at busy truck crossroads.
The world’s largest maker of electric vehicle batteries, CATL, just launched a battery swapping station for electric trucks last month. This comes after some focus on the technology and trucking industry requirements in China. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) introduced a government battery-swapping pilot programme for electric vehicles back in 2021, which included 11 major cities in China.
The US firm Ample initially looked at battery-swapping stations for smaller vehicles, but the company has also since recognised the value of the technology for commercial vehicles over longer distances. For the Japanese-German truck maker MFTBS this will be an important trial for potentially widespread use.