Daimler’s “soft launch” of the Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter in the U.S. next year was driven by the rapid development of more powerful and less expensive batteries, according to an article in truckinginfo.com.

Daimler plans to introduce two new electric commercial vehicles into the U.S. in the next few years, it announced at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hannover, Germany.

The eCenter will be launched most likely in congested areas such as Southern California and New York City. Also, Mercedes Vans says it will introduce an e-van, probably in 2018.

Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler Truck & Bus, told reporters that the performance of batteries has improved by 2.5 times and the costs have come down by about the same amount.

“Now we’re reaching a tiring point. And that tipping point will be the end of this decade.”

Electric trucks are better than diesel for urban delivery, he said — quieter, less emissions, and they don’t face the challenges that diesel engines do in stop and go traffic where they never get to the kind of steady-state operation and temperatures where they work at peak efficiency.

Marc Llistosella of Daimler Trucks Asia, which announced the Fuso eCanter electric light-duty commercial truck at the show, pointed out that a number of European cities plan to ban diesel, with Paris and London leading the way in 2020.

The full story is available here.