Daimler Truck group member Mitsubishi Fuso has introduced a heavy-duty hybrid truck in Japan. The new Fuso Super Great HEV concept truck was unveiled at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.
Fuso says that the first tests of the Super Great HEV have demonstrated significant fuel efficiency improvements over conventional diesel-only vehicles.
The hybrid heavy-duty truck is a milestone in the development efforts of the global hybrid centre (GHC) located in Kawasaki, Japan. The centre controls Daimler Trucks’ global hybrid activities.
“We want to be leaders in green technologies,” says Fuso CEO Dr Albert Kirchmann.
“Our development of a long-haul hybrid truck represents a expansion of our hybrid activities and shows our focus on bringing cost-effective, low-emission commercial vehicles for many applications. We will continue to promote advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.”
Heavy-duty hybrid setup
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 features a conventional diesel engine, electric motor/generator, lithium(Li)-ion battery and related control software. It utilises a parallel hybrid system. This means the vehicle's driving power comes from the vehicle’s electric motor, the diesel engine or both. Fuel efficiency and emissions reduction are achieved by using them singly or in combination with each other according to driving conditions. When slowing down or braking, the electric motor functions as a generator to provide braking. 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 increase in fuel efficiency by as much as ten percent versus conventional diesel-only powered vehicles. Testing was conducted on motorways in Japan.
“Evaluation so far shows that hybridisation can certainly benefit heavy-duty trucks in typical long-haul operations,” says Fuso vice president of product engineering Gustav Tuschen. “The conventional thinking is that hybrids best fit trucks like the Canter Eco Hybrid involved in short-radius distribution operations, since this involves 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. They also tend to run much longer distances than light commercials so the benefits of hybridisation accumulates. 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.
Fuso is now moving ahead with development of heavy-duty hybrid trucks.
One focus has been to minimise the weight of the hybrid system so the customer has the highest possible payload at their disposal. The key challenge now is to ensure significant overall lifecycle cost benefits for the Super Great HEV. Daimler says that capitally-intensive heavy trucks will prevail in the market when their purchase pays off for entrepreneurs.