|At the recent IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover a jury of experts voted the new Mercedes-Benz Atego and Atego BlueTec Hybrid "Truck of the Year 2011".
The jury says that in the new Atego family, Mercedes-Benz presents a versatile medium-duty truck with 'two souls'. The short-radius distribution driver now gets equipment which not long ago was reserved to long-haul drivers and the parallel hybrid drive promotes the reduction of the CO2 emissions of commercial vehicles within the European Union."
The Truck of the Year title is awarded annually to the truck that makes the biggest innovative contribution to road haulage in terms of economy, emissions, safety, drivability and comfort. The Atego scored a total of 127 points to win the competition; the truck that placed second received 82 points, and the third place getter scored 45 points.
"We are pleased that the jury has confirmed our efforts in two significant points: firstly, that we devoted attention to the Atego’s performance in the daily supply of the needs of our society; secondly, that it was right to continue our investments and developments in hybrid drive even in economic crisis situations. That has paid off, says Hubertus Troska head of Mercedes-Benz."
The Atego BlueTec Hybrid truck has the potential for cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 to 15 percent in short-radius distribution service compared with conventionally powered trucks. Following successful customer operation of the first prototypes of the Mercedes-Benz Atego Hybrid, at the end of last year the first 50 Atego BlueTec Hybrid vehicles were sold to German customers. The purpose of this fleet was to substantiate the practicality of the hybrid truck in real-life and demonstrate the reliability of the Atego hybrid. Other important aspects for series production are the Europe-wide registration, the availability of different wheelbase variants, of right- and left-hand drive versions, and Mercedes-Benz service in the markets for the new technology.
Mercedes-Benz relies on a parallel hybrid architecture for the Atego BlueTec, as it best suits the design of the truck's power train. In this arrangement, the electric motor is positioned behind the diesel engine and clutch, but before the transmission. With this design, the engine and electric motor can drive the truck individually or in combination. The configuration permits electric start-off, recuperation, boosting by the electric motor, as well as best optimisation of the diesel engine. Compared with a conventional drive, additional components include the battery to power the electric motor, frequency converter or voltage transformer, along with the hybrid controls and cooling.
With an eye to emissions, fuel consumption and weight, an up-to-date EURO V EEV four-cylinder engine is used in the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid. Its compact and light OM 924 LA four-cylinder diesel engine with 4.8 l displacement develops 160 kW (218 hp) at 2200 rpm and delivers maximum torque of 810 Nm at 1200-1600 rpm.
It is complemented by the water-cooled electric motor with peak power of 44 kW and maximum torque of 420 Nm. This is a three-phase permanent magnet motor. The electric motor is located between clutch and automated transmission (the six-speed Mercedes-Benz G 85-6 with Telligent automatic gearshift system).
The electric motor gets its energy from high-energy, high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are fed with recovered braking energy (recuperation). When the driver applies the brakes to the truck, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the braking energy into current which is then stored in the battery up to the battery's maximum capacity. The same thing happens when the truck is decelerating – coasting without the accelerator being depressed, but with a gear engaged. A frequency converter changes the DC voltage of the battery into the AC voltage of the electric motor. Using the engine start/stop system reduces fuel consumption and noise to zero at traffic lights. The system automatically shuts the diesel engine off.