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 rumored 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.
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“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.”