METRO Compact Electric Utility Vehicle Arrives in U.S.
Modular Low-Speed Ute Available from Dealers in 22 States
Brett T. Evans – Jul 20, 2017
College campuses, gated communities, and urban environments in the U.S. might get a little bit more “smiley” in the next few years if this little machine has anything to say about it.
Billed as a “modular compact electric utility vehicle,” the Cenntro METRO work truck will be hitting dealerships in 22 states within the next few weeks. Designed for urban logistics and services, the company claims it’s already very popular in Asia and Europe, owing perhaps to its incredibly friendly front fascia. The smile-shaped front bumper and round headlights make the whole machine look like one big, boxy emoji.
With an optional top speed of 50 mph and a maximum payload capacity of 1,200 pounds, the METRO could be an ideal urban delivery vehicle for places where straight trucks or cab-over box vans are too large or unwieldy (San Francisco’s Chinatown and urban Los Angeles jump to mind). Helping that mission is an ultra-tight turning radius of 12.5 feet and overall length of just over 12 feet. Cenntro offers the METRO in four modular designs: box van, refrigerated van, flatbed truck, and stake-bed pickup. Each can be customized with a variety of modular solutions from the factory or upfitted after the sale.
The standard battery pack allows a maximum range of 50 miles, while an optional unit extends that measurement to 120 miles on a full charge. Cenntro claims it scores an impressive estimated 145 MPGe. Powering the METRO is a 24kW-max electric motor, taking power from a battery pack of unknown capacity that can take a full charge from a 110V input in about 9 hours or a 220V input in 7 hours. Unfortunately, that battery is of the lead acid type, meaning it’s subject to greater depth-of-charge degradation than an equivalent lithium-ion battery. The company says it's working on a Li-ion unit to rectify that shortcoming.
Logisitcs and distribution company Tropos Technologies will be managing the launch of the METRO in the States, taking orders for the machine now. “The METRO is ideal for campuses, municipalities, and local businesses that are striving for the most contemporary transport options and a low carbon footprint,” said John Bautista, Tropos CEO.
So will the METRO take off here in the states? It’s hard to say. Its nimble dimensions and impressive cargo capacity could make it the de facto replacement for college campuses’ ubiquitous UTVs and golf carts, and the cab-over design makes for more cargo space—we could easily see one with “FedEx” painted on the side for ultra-urban deliveries.
Would you ever consider replacing some of your fleet with this compact little electric truck?