Fuso develops heavy-duty hybrid truck

Fuso has introduced a heavy-duty hybrid truck in Japan. The new vehicle concept will have its offcial show premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show from 30 November to 11 December 2012. However, first tests of the Super Great HEV have already demonstrated significant fuel efficiency improvements over conventional diesel-only vehicles.

The hybrid heavy-duty truck development is a further milestone in the development efforts of the Global Hybrid Center (GHC) located in Kawasaki. The development centre synchronises and controls Daimler Trucks' global hybrid activities.

“We want to be leaders in green technologies,” says Dr. Albert Kirchmann, Fuso President and CEO, on the occasion of the product presentation. “Our development of a long-haul hybrid truck represents a significant expansion of our hybrid activities and shows our focus on bringing cost-effective, low-emission commercial vehicles for a wide spectrum of applications. We will continue to promote advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.”

Andreas Renschler, member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Commercial Vehicles, adds: “Fuso's activities in the area of alternative drive systems are an important component of our global commitment to environment-conscious, sustainable transport solutions. Daimler Trucks is very well prepared for future requirements with its current green product portfolio.”

The newly developed hybrid heavy-duty truck is based on the technology of the Canter Eco Hybrid, around 1200 units of which have been sold since it was introduced in 2006 and which has proved itself in numerous applications worldwide. The Fuso Super Great HEV now presented features a conventional diesel engine; electric motor/generator; lithium(Li)-ion battery; and related control software.

It utilises a parallel hybrid system. That means power to drive the vehicle comes from the vehicle's electric motor, the diesel engine or both. Fuel efficiency and emissions reduction are achieved by using them separately or in combination with each other according to driving conditions. When slowing down or braking, the electric motor functions as a generator to brake the vehicle. The generator converts brake energy into electric energy and returns it to the lithium-ion battery.

The first tests performed under real-life conditions show an impressive increase in fuel efficiency by as much as ten percent versus conventional diesel-only powered vehicles. Testing was conducted on motorways in Japan, in representative conditions.

“Evaluation so far shows that hybridisation can indeed benefit heavy-duty trucks in typical long-haul operations,” explains Gustav Tuschen, Fuso's Vice President of Product Engineering. “The conventional thinking is that hybrids best fit trucks like the Canter Eco Hybrid involved in short-radius distribution operations, since such operations involve many stop-and-go situations. Braking energy can be continuously recaptured this way. But heavy-duty highway trucks in long-haul operation clearly benefit as well.”

Long-haul trucks recover and store energy as they move up and down hills. In addition, they tend to run much longer distances than light commercials; therefore, the benefits of hybrids accumulate. The hybrid system of the Fuso Super Great is optimised so it can capture energy even when the truck is going down very slight grades. The parallel hybrid system ensures that energy loss is minimised.

Based on the positive test results, Fuso is now moving ahead with development of heavy-duty hybrid trucks. The key challenge now is to ensure significant overall lifecycle cost benefits for the Super Great HEV. For trucks are capital goods and will prevail in the market especially when their purchase pays off for entrepreneurs.
One focus of work is to minimise the weight of the hybrid system so the customer has the highest possible payload at his disposal.

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