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Daimler AG and Deutsche Post World Net Launch Hybrid Truck Trials in Europe

Deutsche Post World Net has launched a European trial of hybrid trucks from Daimler AG, and is the first logistics company in Europe to test hybrid trucks in its operations.

The trial, officially launched with the handover of the first two vehicles—a Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid and a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid—will initially include DHL Express operations in the UK as well as mail transport in Germany. In the coming months further Daimler hybrid vehicles will be integrated into the DHL fleet.

This marks the world’s first deployment of a Mercedes-Benz hybrid-drive truck. DHL has been using the Canter Eco Hybrid in Japan since its introduction in 2006.

Daimler and Deutsche Post anticipate that the two 7.5 ton diesel-electric hybrids will use up to 20% less fuel than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles with concomitant reductions in CO2 emissions.

The Mitsubishi Canter Eco Hybrid made its debut in Japan in 2006. The Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec (7.5 t) with hybrid drive made its debut in Stuttgart in November 2007. The powertrains on both trucks have similar components and specifications:

  • Compact, lightweight four-cylinder 3.0-liter diesel engine. On the Atego, it develops an output of 92 kW (125 hp) and a maximum torque of 294 Nm. On the new European version of the Canter, it develops an output of 107 kW (145 hp) and maximum torque of 362 Nm.

  • Water-cooled electric motor—with peak output of 35 kW and 200 Nm of torque—located between the clutch and the Inomat II automated manual transmission. The electric motor mainly assists the diesel engine at lower and medium engine speeds. Once the truck is cruising along after acceleration, it runs economically on diesel power alone, but electric power only is used when moving off.

  • 1.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted in a housing on the left side of the frame.

  • The water cooler for the hybrid drive is mounted on the opposite side. The batteries are charged by recuperated braking energy.

Deutsche Post World Net is the world’s leading logistics group and integrates Deutsche Post, DHL and Postbank. The Group generated revenue of €60 billion in 2006. With currently some 500,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories, Deutsche Post World Net is one of the biggest employers worldwide.

Daimler Trucks is a division of Daimler AG and the world’s leading truck manufacturer. The portfolio includes the five truck brands Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling and Mitsubishi Fuso.




When a diesel truck starts out it "belches". Is this because it's 1) suddenly burning more fuel 2) the added air pressure is just blowing particles out the stack 3) at high power the fuel is not burned as cleanly, 4) all/some of the above or 5) some other reason?

Reality Czech

The smoke you see is because the engine is injecting a lot of fuel to get maximum torque, and at mixtures near stoichiometric it is not always possible to get complete combustion due to inhomogeneities. There are engine controls designed to minimize this, and a hybrid system which uses a motor to generate peak torque while limiting the fuel feed could potentially eliminate it.


Thanks. So not only does the hybrid deliver better mileage, the fuel it does use is more cleanly burned. Nice.


I would have expected better than a 20% fuel gain for such a heavy vehicle that presumably is a driving cycle of relatively low speeds and lots of start-stop... though maybe these are primarily long haul trucks. It would seem logical to focus hybrid roll out on intracity trucks.

Anyone have comments? Maybe it's the power limitation of the batteries so that % of braking energy captured is not that high? 1.9KWh does seem small for such a large truck.

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