Would you operate an e-vehicle under extreme weather conditions when you have the chance? During the beginning of 2024, two FUSO Next Generation eCanter models were in use at DB SCHENKER in Finland.

Operation under extreme conditions

In Finland, there are special weather conditions that pose a challenge for an electric truck. In a town called Kuusamo in northern Finland, there are temperatures of -30 degrees and there is snow from October to April. Perfect conditions! Since the beginning of the year, the DB SCHENKER hub in Kuusamo has been using the next-generation eCanter, a battery-electric 7.5-ton truck. Another eCanter is stationed in Oulu, around 200 kilometers southwest of Kuusamo.

Raino Mourujärvi is 45 years old and the Head of Terminal Area at DB SCHENKER Northern Finland. Stationed at DB SCHENKER in Oulu, roughly three hours southwest, he manages the entire Lapland region. Once a month, he personally visits the branches in Kuusamo, Kemi, and Rovaniemi. His responsibilities include looking after the properties, vehicles, and staff at the locations. He is also a great enthusiast when it comes to electromobility. Leading by example, he uses a company electric car and actively promotes integrating sustainable vehicles into the fleet.

I really wanted us to use the eCanter here and disprove the preconception that you can’t do anything with an electric truck in these weather conditions.

Raino Mourujärvi
Head of Terminal Area at DB SCHENKER Northern Finland

Daily routine without cold surprises

Sami Määttä is the Terminal manager in Kuusamo and also a driver of the eCanter himself. He has already driven more than 1.200 km with the eCanter in recent weeks, making deliveries to customers. “The vehicle starts flawlessly every day. With the low temperatures prevailing in winter, people in Kuusamo are used to different things from diesel vehicles from time to time.” Another clear advantage for the 32 year old Sami Määttä is the charging directly inside of the building: while the eCanter is charging its batteries, the DB SCHENKER employee is planning the routes for the day or can load freight into other vehicles.

From Monday to Friday, an articulated lorry commutes between Kuusamo and Oulu every night, bringing goods for delivery and picking up the freight collected during the day on the next round. The deliveries are a colorful mix that looks different every day. Today, they include: a load of books for the local library, a pallet of rims for the local tire dealer, and various small parcels for the kiosk in the town center, which also serves as a bank, post office, and parcel shop. “We offer our service in Kuusamo and the surrounding area to companies and private individuals alike,” explains Sami Määttä as he unplugs the charging box on the passenger side of the eCanter shortly after 8.30 am.

Positive surrounding

All in all, the operation was successful. The only drawback: the heating on the front wall of the box body currently still runs on an additional small biodiesel tank. This special local requirement is due to the icy temperatures and is necessary to transport sensitive medical products that must not freeze. Unfortunately, this could not yet be solved electrically, as it would draw too much energy from the vehicle’s batteries.

My comfort in the cab is taken care of – I’m always nice and warm!

Sami Määttä
Terminal Manager at DB SCHENKER

As a big fan of electric vehicles, can Raino Mourujärvi imagine switching completely to battery-electric drives in his field? “I don’t think that’s possible at the moment. The corresponding infrastructure is still lacking, especially on long-distance routes. However, we are already using an electric lorry as an articulated lorry that commutes between the terminals in Helsinki and Tampere. However, each terminal has its own powerful fast-charging points.”

Powerful cooperation

DB SCHENKER has been using the eCanter for last-mile transport since 2018. There are now 52 FUSO eCanters in ten different countries across Europe. Since its market launch in 2017, the eCanter has already covered more than three million kilometers emission-free and saved over 2,000 tons of CO2. FUSO is now presenting the next generation of the eCanter, which offers even more power, range, and flexibility.

Published: March 2024