About Us

Daimler's Electric Rizon Truck Does the eCanter Proud

Daimler's Electric Rizon Truck Does the eCanter Proud 05/01/2024

Daimler Trucks’ newest brand, Rizon, rode into Canada last week, announcing it was setting up new distributorships north of the border for the Class 4-5 electric truck. Daimler announced the Rizon brand a year ago, but this is the first chance HDT has had to experience the truck up close. It was just a month ago that Daimler announced the first Rizon trucks were being delivered to customers in California.

Rizon Electric Trucks in Canada

Customers on Canada's West Coast, specifically Vancouver, British Columbia, will be served by Velocity Truck Centres, as will fleets in Toronto, Ontario. Globocam will carry the Rizon banner in Quebec. Rizon sees the three major cities in Canada as good markets, citing moderate winter climates and inexpensive clean energy. British Columbia and Quebec have highly developed hydro-electric generating capacity, while Ontario relies predominantly on hydro and nuclear.

“Vancouver is a market where you have a lot of green power with hydro energy, and the climate is also a little bit milder,” said Velocity EV General Manager Alex Voets. “On the East Coast, the Toronto area seems to be a market where the political environment is good for this. We assume that's where the big first movers are going to be.”

Rizon made the announcement in mid-April at Truck World, Canada's only major truck show. The company brought a couple of trucks to the show and offered a reasonably long test drive on a top-of-the-line e18L model. HDT, of course, took full advantage of the opportunity.

Rizon Electric Truck is Basically a Next-Generation Fuso eCanter

It's no secret that Rizon’s Class 4 and 5 offerings are rebadged eCanters, formerly from the Mitsubishi Fuso stable. The truck was making a name for itself in North America, with units testing at J.B. Hunt, Penske Truck Leasing and others. But in May 2020, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America discontinued all new truck sales in the U.S. and Canada.  

“Daimler Truck decided to step out of active sales of Fuso Trucks in North America following independent strategic analysis,” explained Andreas Deuschle, global head of Rizon Truck. Daimler later determined that the lighter-duty EV commercial vehicle market was an important addition to its medium- and heavy-duty electric lineup in North America (the Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 and the FCCC MT50e.)

In 2023, Daimler launched the Rizon brand as a 100% fully electric truck lineup. “It was decided that we should not miss the chance to be in this space,” Deuschle said. “California was the first market to go in the U.S. Now we’re looking at all the mega cities here and basically any markets which welcome this technology.”

The eCanter went into series production in 2017. It’s still available through Mitsubishi Fuso in other markets, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Oceania. Many of those markets continue to offer a diesel version of the Canter as well.

The Lighter End of Medium-Duty is Perfect for Electric Trucks

There are four variants of the Rizon electric truck in Class 4 and Class 5:

  • Rizon e16M
  • Rizon e16L
  • Rizon e18M
  • Rizon e18L

The M and L designations refer to battery capacity. M is a two-pack configuration with a range of 75 to 110 miles. L is a three-pack setup offering up to 160 miles.
The powertrain in both configurations is the same: 175hp/129 kW peak with 317ft-lb/430NM of torque. Wheelbase options include 134-, 152-, 175-, and 187-inch.

The trucks are equipped from the factory with electronics, cabling and connections for level 2 AC charging and level 3 DC charging. The AC charging capability eliminates any barriers to uptake for even single-truck operators. The option to move up to level 3 DC fast-charging opens doors for fleet expansion.

The market for such a truck is ripe for the picking now. There’s still plenty of enthusiasm for electrifying the transport sector. Charging infrastructure challenges remain major hurdles for Class 7 and 8 trucks, but Rizon's Class 4 and 5 trucks slide in under that wire. These trucks are easily accessible to nearly anyone in that market segment.  “I think the people that will be interested in this truck are those with either a very strong interest in sustainability, or they want to make a statement about their ESG goals,” said Voets. “They also appeal to fleets in the public eye — consumer brands — with an interest in appealing to their customers’ green sensibilities.” Box, flatdeck and stake bodies are the top sellers so far, but Voets said there's also interest from municipal fleets. “There's a lot of interest in the more bespoke vocational type of applications like service bodies and even small trash compactors,” he said. “Cities really are kind of driving the force towards electrification. They are setting an example.”

Rizon Shows Innovation at Every Turn

Comparing the Rizon specs to those of the eCanter I drove at the Work Truck Show four years ago, it’s clear it’s been upgraded — slightly more powerful motors, for example. The battery capacity is the same, but the advertised range estimates are better. There’s an e-axle out back rather than a central motor with a driveshaft.

The Rizon Connect telematics platform is standard on all vehicles. It offers the same capabilities as the full Daimler Connect infrastructure included with the Rizon’s bigger cousins, the eM2 and eCascadia, such as full real-time visibility of vehicle health, diagnostic codes, driver behavior, safety events, and more.

Also standard on this new and improved version are advanced passive and active safety systems, including:

  • Active brake assist with moving pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Active side assist
  • Electronic stability control.

Again, all modeled on Daimler Trucks' advanced driver safety and assistance technology.

Rizon's Charging Options, e-PTO Capability

All four Rizon models come from the factory wired for both Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging. They are equipped with a two-way charging connector with both the J-1772 and CCS1 charging ports. Typical AC charging times are listed at 6-9 hours, while DC fast charging can be completed in as little as 1 to 1.5 hours, Rizon says.

Rizon trucks are wired for e-PTO capability for added flexibility when considering chassis-mounted equipment such as refuse compactors, dump bodies, or transport refrigeration units. “We made a lot of changes between the first and second generations, and that’s why we feel very confident about the technology and where the truck sits right now,” Voets said. “We got a tremendous amount of customer feedback on the truck while it was part of the Daimler Innovation fleet, and that drove much of what you see today.”

Will Rizon Add Larger Trucks?

Asked if Rizon's current four-truck lineup would ever have a bigger brother, Deuschle said no. "We see ourselves as experts in Class 4 and Class 5 and we'd like to stay very specific in that market.” He noted that Rizon is the beneficiary of all of Daimler's global expertise and competence in electric vehicles. “Even though each brand will have a specific focus — eCascadia, Actros and eM2 — there's a lot of collaboration across the brands.”

Driving the Rizon Battery-Electric Truck

I spent about an hour at the wheel of a Rizon e18L on a rainy April afternoon driving around an industrial area near Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson airport. It offers a nimble, comfortable ride with exceptional visibility. And of course it’s quiet; it’s all-electric. At Class 4 and 5, Rizon trucks don’t require a commercial driver’s license to operate, so it’s likely the people driving them will not be familiar with the feel of a big truck. The e16 and e18 models offer the comfort of a pickup truck with a whole lot more cargo space. Its peppy acceleration and sure-footed handling belie the fact that this is a cargo truck. It accelerates fast — but that comes at a price.

This is something drivers new to electric trucks will have to get over. Jack-rabbit starts and hard acceleration compromise electric-vehicle range. That said, drivers who are smooth on the accelerator pedal and can manage regenerative braking will get full value for a charge. I quickly got used to the feel of the pedal in braking mode. I only used the brake pedal to hold the truck still at traffic lights. It creeps while in gear, so you have to keep your foot on the brake while stopped. Easing up on the pedal while decelerating modulated the regenerative braking, making it a very intuitive one-pedal truck.

The Rizon Cab

Inside the Rizon cab, there’s not much on the dash to distract the driver. The main display shows all the vital info such as road speed and state of charge. There’s not much else the driver needs to worry about. However, watching the battery gauge while regen braking can help the driver optimize the charging opportunities while in motion. It has a tiny steering wheel, which gives it a sporty feel, but the 12-volt electric power steering was as smooth and sure as you can get. Two features drivers will love are the heated seats and heated steering wheel.

I wondered about the draw on the battery from those features. But my tour guide, Rizon Sales and Marketing Manager Phil Birko, told me it takes less energy to run the heated seat and steering when than it does to heat the air in the cab. “Drivers will feel warmer faster with those two features than while running the heater,” he said. “And that’s better for the driver and the batteries.” I did a bunch of maneuvering the truck, right and left turns, a few backing moves, and lots of straight between the lines driving and I came away smiling — as I did after the eCanter drive four years ago.

I like this little truck. It's fun to drive, and it gets the job done.

Copyright belongs to:
Article Author: Jim Park Equipment Editor
Article source: https://www.truckinginfo.com/10220726/daimlers-electric-rizon-truck-does-the-ecanter-proud

Contact Us