Electric dreams

By: Greg Bush

Outgoing Daimler Trucks Asia head and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks and Bus Corporation, Marc Llistosella takes a parting look at an innovative industry.

Electric dreams
Marc Llistosella made a quick stopover in Australia before departing Daimler Trucks on March 31


In December 2017, Daimler Trucks announced the upcoming departing of Marc Llistosella, head of Daimler Trucks Asia, CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) and also Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV).

According to Daimler, Llistosella is departing on "his own accord", his last day with the company being March 31. His successor, Hartmut Schick, is head of the Daimler Buses division and CEO of EvoBus GMBH, a position he has held since 2009.

One of Llistosella’s final duties was to make a flying visit to Australia and New Zealand in February, but not before he said his goodbyes to the 3500-strong Indian DICV workforce where he received a standing ovation.

Known for his passion regarding electric commercial vehicles and with both eyes on transport’s future, Llistosella joined the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1994, before moving to India and the newly-founded DICV, starting as project manager before becoming CEO of that division.

Llistosella was in Stuttgart, Germany in April 2016 for the launch of the first fleet test with zero-emission battery-operated trucks. During trials earlier in Portugal, he lauded the performance of the eCanter.

"It achieved savings of around 1000 euros per 10,000 kilometres in comparison with a diesel-engined truck.

"This helps us to spell out Fuso's leading role in the field of electrically operated commercial vehicles," Llistosella said.

Now with the launch of the eCanter version 2.0 and its upgraded battery and a range of 100km, he believes it would be ideal for Australia’s capital city urban markets.

Meanwhile, the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz eActros electric truck boasts a range of 200km. However, Llistosella says around 500km needs to be achieved, with the one of the most suitable vocations being in refuse.

"Garbage is not attractive, but it’s perfect," he explains. "It’s public, it’s going in the night, it will be silent … only the crushing will be disturbing, depending on what you put in, and it will go for hours."

In the worst example, he jokes about an ice-cream vendor delivering to every person on every street.

"That is a killer," he smiles. "Open up, open up, open up … you are out of energy in one hour.."

In the future Llistosella says systems such as inductive roads will alleviate the time spent charging batteries, such as receiving a charge while waiting at traffic lights. He sees it as an expansion as to what the French have developed with a section of communicating road, sensing temperatures and conditions and warning motorists of black ice.

"You have a lot of roads and they have so much sun. You don’t need solar panels if the road would be prepared to get the energy. And houses could be charged by this.

"These are the ideas."

Eye on the future

As well as the requirement for further development in battery technology, Llistosella says telematics is another area that is moving ahead rapidly. To quell the rate of accidents in its Indian fleet, DICV introduced facial recognition as recently as January.

"There are a lot of traffic and truck related accidents with a lot of casualties because the drivers are not properly trained or not properly tracked," Llistosella explains. "So sometimes they drive 14 to 16 hours.

"It gives you warnings and it’s connected to the data which is then provided to us.

"We have a war room where we can see all the misbehaviour," he smiles.

Further into the future Llistosella can see the introduction of connected seats which could measure the driver’s heartbeat.

"The heartbeat tells you if there’s anything coming, such as a stroke. But that is something that we have to be very careful of.

"The insurance companies are very interested, they want the whole thing," he adds.

Undoubtedly an ideas man, Llistosella says his journey with Daimler has been the greatest adventure.

"It was a pleasure, it was an honour," he says.

"They gave me the freedom for the last 10 years to do what I wanted to do, and that is something which is a blessing.

"A big company says go where you want, we will fund you. It is a boy’s dream."

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