Rizon EV aims to leverage capability, safety to carve market share

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It’s very quiet in the cab while sitting behind the wheel of a truck as it rolls down the road. No engine rumbling, and no vibration from the steering wheel, dash or doors. And it smells like a four-wheeler, no diesel fumes.

I took the Rizon for a spin after Diamler Truck launched its electric truck at Truck World in Mississauga, Ont. The regular-looking work truck’s exterior harbors plenty of technology under the frame and in the cab.

For Andreas Deuschle, Rizon’s head of international sales and customer services trucks Asia, this is the vehicle’s secret sauce. “If you look above the frame you can mount any body you want. Below the frame, it’s a clean electric system. It’s very easy for customers to enter the electric market with this vehicle,” he said.

Picture of Rizon truck
The Rizon e18L (Photo: Leo Barros)

The steering wheel situated perpendicular to the chest hints that it is a truck and not a four-wheeler. A large windshield and windows offer excellent lines of sight in front of and around the vehicle.

The e18L that I drove has a keyless start, a knob resting where a key would be inserted in the steering column must be twisted to fire up the engine.

Instant acceleration

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the instant acceleration EVs produce. Regenerative braking allows single pedal driving as the vehicle slows down as soon as the foot is removed from the accelerator.

I was not a fan of the brake pedal that hugged the steering column and used it only when necessary.

The driver’s seat is equipped with air suspension, offering a very comfortable ride.

A view from the Rizon windshield
(Photo: Leo Barros)

The vehicle is equipped with a rear-view camera that is handy when backing into docks or tight parking spaces, which happens often for last-mile and shorthaul applications. This camera also functions as a rear-view mirror as you drive, a welcome feature.

It was a chilly morning, but the seat warmer and heated steering wheel ensured driver comfort. With the automatic climate control engaged, I cracked open a window as it got a little toasty in the cab. The side mirrors are also heated, a necessary feature in our colder climate.

Deuschle said heating the air for the whole cabin is much more energy intense than the surfaces the driver touches.

Cold weather performance

An electric preconditioning function brings the batteries to the ideal temperature before operation using power from the grid, enabling them to operate with improved performance in cold weather.

Phil Berko, Rizon’s sales and marketing manager said the vehicle has been tested down to minus 20 Fahrenheit. “The connections didn’t freeze, cooling didn’t freeze, everything worked as it was supposed to.”.

The e18L boasts advanced passive and active safety systems including Daimler Truck’s active brake assist and active side guard assist. Deuschle said the battery is located below the frame in a steel structure and has a mechanism that moves it in case of a side impact, protecting it from damage and spills.

The vehicle can run up to 257 km with three battery packs.

AC and DC charging

It can be charged by Level 2 AC charging and DC fast charging. AC charging will recharge the battery in nine to 10 hours and the DC fast charger can do the job in an hour to 90 minutes. The lithium ferro phosphate batteries have been tested to last 5,000 to 6,000 charge cycles.

The e18L needs to be brought in for maintenance every 10,000 miles. Berko said a lot of it is inspection based, adding that EVs have fewer parts to be replaced.


For buyers, it all boils down to dollars and cents. The Rizon qualifies for the federal Incentives for Medium- and Heavy-Duty-Zero-Vehicles (iMHZEV) program – approximately $75,000. Additional provincial incentives are available in British Columbia and Quebec for approximately $75,000.

Deuschle says in those two provinces, the $150,000 in incentives make the Rizon very affordable. And then comparing the price of diesel versus electricity makes the deal even more enticing.

The e18L, e16L, e16M, and e18M, with a mix of configurations and options, ranging from 15,995 to 18,850 pounds in gross vehicle weight (GVW) will be distributed in British Columbia and Western Canada by Velocity Electric Vehicle Canada; and Globocam in Quebec and Eastern Canada.

Toward the end of my test drive, I missed the turn into the parking lot, so got to drive the EV for a bit longer. A three-point turn on a not-so-busy street was easy with the nimble Rizon.

Back in the parking lot, the blue-collar work truck slipped into its parking spot confident in its ability to deliver the goods.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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