Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (Headquarters: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, President and CEO: Karl Deppen, hereafter “MFTBC”) announces it has signed an agreement with Ample Inc. (Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, President: John de Souza, CEO: Khaled Hassounah, hereafter: “Ample”) to begin a collaboration on a pilot project on battery swapping technology for electric trucks in Japan.
In March 2023, MFTBC launched the new model of its electric light-duty truck “eCanter”, which satisfies customers’ needs of urban transportation, by providing a range from 99km to 324km*1. Looking into the future, MFTBC is pushing further and aims to investigate possible solutions to expand the scope of eCanter, such as for use cases with longer driving range.
*1 Certified driving ranges by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
MFTBC and Ample will collaborate to pair MFTBC e-vehicle solutions with Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping technology with an initial deployment based on the latest model of the all-electric FUSO eCanter for the Japanese market. The two companies will install an eCanter with modular batteries that can be automatically exchanged at Ample battery swapping stations in a target time of five minutes. The test deployment will serve as an important resource in evaluating customer experience, scalability and potential for commercialization in the domestic market. The vehicle’s trial on public roads is scheduled for this winter in Japan.
MFTBC has been a frontrunner in e-mobility and related ecosystems, having introduced the eCanter, Japan’s first series-produced electric light-duty truck, as early as 2017. Sales of the newly remodeled eCanter recently started in March 2023, pushing MFTBC one step closer to its ambition of providing a completely carbon neutral product portfolio in Japan by 2039. With its role in the upcoming trials with Ample, the eCanter is expected to contribute to further advancements in sustainable transport.
Ample has developed an innovative battery swapping solution that is faster and more cost-effective for users than existing charging solutions. Ample provides energy delivery as a service, and has focused on last-mile delivery, ride hailing, and car sharing use cases. With Ample’s patented technology, the process of exchanging eCanter battery modules inside a battery swapping station could take as little as five minutes, allowing both companies to offer a mobility solution that meets the needs of middle and last-mile delivery use cases.
Image to illustrate swapping technology applied to the eCanter
In response to the Japanese government’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and its goals of decarbonizing commercial vehicles under the Green Growth Strategy, efforts toward sustainability have accelerated within the transport industry. Although trucks with electric drivetrains are now among the most promising means of achieving carbon neutrality on the road, many challenges remain, including reduced uptime due to charging needs. An electric light-duty truck typically requires around 10 hours with AC charging and a few hours with DC charging in Japan*2. This joint effort by MFTBC and Ample aims to circumvent this issue with exchangeable batteries, supporting vehicle uptime by delivering a full charge within minutes, and by extension, encouraging the transport industry’s EV shift.
*2 Charging time may differ due to many conditions such as remaining battery capacity and truck type.
In collaboration with partners such as Ample, MFTBC will continue to innovate its products and services towards the vision of developing mobility solutions to embrace a better life for people and the planet.
eCanter at Ample battery swapping station