Daimler India introduces next-gen eCanter in Indian EV market

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, a company that builds trucks and buses under the BharatBenz brand specifically designed for the Indian market, announced its foray into the Indian battery electric market with the all-electric, Next-Generation eCanter. The market launch of the all-electric eCanter in India demonstrates the company’s first step towards its larger vision to decarbonize its entire product portfolio in the long term. The all-electric eCanter, which marks DICV’s foray into India’s light-duty truck segment, will be launched in the market within the next 6 to 12 months.

From a global perspective, Daimler Truck is fully committed to the Paris Climate Protection Agreement. The pioneer of modern transportation wants to make CO2-neutral transport a worldwide success and contribute to combating of climate change. With a clear vision to decarbonize the transportation industry and reduce resource consumption, Daimler Truck is striving for its new trucks and buses to be CO2-neutral in Europe, Japan and USA by 2039, and globally by 2050. DICV is working on the readiness of a CO2-neutral product portfolio in line with Daimler Truck’s global decarbonization vision. India will pursue the overall target as soon as possible following the aforementioned core markets.

Mr. Satyakam Arya, Managing Director & CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles said, “All our efforts are being put into achieving robust readiness for our future products that will feature CO2-neutral propulsion technologies in the long term. The launch of the all-electric eCanter in India, within the next 6 to 12 months, is the first step in our long-term strategy to decarbonize our entire product portfolio. In the Indian market, diesel ICE and CO2-neutral propulsion technologies will co-exist for the foreseeable future, reflecting reality.”

He added “A long-term plan like ours hinges on many complex external factors. Several factors, such as charging and refueling infrastructure, green energy availability, cost parity, and customer acceptance, play crucial roles. Therefore, our initial focus with the eCanter is to achieve product and service excellence, along with customer acceptance. Over the next two decades, we will have a firm footing with decarbonized transportation solutions. Moreover, we will be making progress towards becoming a leader in sustainable transportation in India.”

DICV has a keen eye on the how the Indian market shapes up over the years. The company is preparing the CO2-neutral propulsion technology roadmap. It is in line with Daimler Truck’s global technology strategy with battery electric and hydrogen-based drive technologies. DICV has already developed a BharatBenz hydrogen fuel cell concept coach in alliance with a large Indian conglomerate. In the future, DICV will introduce trucks across different utility segments. These trucks will serve long haul, mining, construction, POL, dumper, RMC, and so forth for various freight and terrain requirements.

“LNG, if used at all, will be an interim, tactical solution for long haul transportation. We will primarily commit to battery-electric and hydrogen-based propulsion technologies across our future product portfolio, in a phased manner. When the market is ready, we’ll ensure we have the appropriate vehicles prepared without a shadow of doubt,” said Mr. Arya.

However, the all-electric eCanter for India is undergoing advanced trials. The battery electric platform originated in Japan where the series production of the first-generation eCanter started in 2017. The all-new, Next-Generation eCanter had its world premiere in Japan and Europe in the second half of 2022. Since its 2017 debut, the eCanter, pioneering electric vehicle, has sold hundreds across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. The proven, next-generation of the eCanter will have significant presence in major markets around the world with a 100 variants.

India’s CO2-neutral propulsion technology market, though nascent, holds vast potential for growth and development in the foreseeable future. India’s global recognition in R&D positions it as a burgeoning hub for future product development amidst advancing technologies’ integration. However, India needs conducive, robust policies and a market environment to compete with the world going forward.

Commenting on how a conducive policy framework is crucial to ensuring economic viability for customers, Mr. Arya added, “CO2-neutral vehicles can succeed if consumers widely accept changes in the equations of total cost of ownership. This underscores the influence of important factors in achieving success in sustainable mobility solutions. DICV aims at contributing to India’s future by foraying into CO2-neutral propulsion technologies. Moreover, it progresses towards becoming one of the world’s top five commercial vehicle markets.”

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