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Daimler to begin production and sales of Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid in Europe

Elements of the hybrid drive for Eco Hybrid: electric motor between clutch and Duonic gear box; Li-ion battery pack; power electronics. Click to enlarge.

Daimler will begin production of Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid in Europe and launch it in major western European markets beginning in the third quarter of this year, with other countries to follow in succession. This will make the Canter Eco Hybrid the first series-produced truck of its class to be manufactured in Europe (in Tramagal, Portugal). Sales of the new generation model have already begun in Japan. (Earlier post.)

The new Canter Eco Hybrid—which will include a left-hand-drive variant—is based on experience acquired from around 1,200 predecessor models. Numerous refinements to the electric drive system, plus a Duonic dual-clutch transmission—unique in this class—have resulted in a vehicle which saves up to 23% fuel in short-radius distribution operations.

2012 Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid. Note the position of the battery pack. Click to enlarge.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), a Daimler subsidiary, had been manufacturing up to 300 units per year of the first generation Canter Eco Hybrid in Japan.

The Canter Eco Hybrid has a parallel-hybrid architecture with an additional electric motor between the clutch and the gearbox. The system was developed by Daimler Trucks at their Global Hybrid Centre in Japan.

The conventional diesel-drive Canter contributes its 4P10 turbocharged four-cylinder 3-liter diesel engine, which delivers 110 kW (150 hp) and a maximum torque of 370 N·m (273 lb-ft) at 1320-2840 rpm. This engine has an exhaust gas recycling system and a particle filter.

The new Canter Eco Hybrid’s electric motor is a permanently excited synchronous motor with an output of 40 kW. Maximum torque is around 200 N·m (148 lb-ft). The usable power band of the liquid-cooled motor is significantly greater than has previously been the case. With a width of 110 mm the electro-motor only constitutes a minor addition to the length of the drive train.

The motor draws its power from lithium-ion batteries, packaged in nine modules. The batteries are air-cooled and are housed in a tough container located on the left-hand side, between the axles. The batteries have a capacity of 7.5 Ah and weigh 63.5 kg (140 lb).

Fuso applies a five-year guarantee to all the main battery components, and it can even be optionally extended to 10 years. Each time the vehicle brakes, the batteries are charged by means of recuperation.

The same holder which contains the batteries also houses the new, compact, liquid-cooled inverter. The DC-DC voltage converter is also integrated in the battery holder.

Safety was a top priority in the development of the new Canter Eco Hybrid. For example, in the event of an accident, the entire high-voltage system shuts down immediately thanks to a crash sensor. The driver can also shut the system down manually via the emergency off switch.

The drive system has undergone a large number of tests, including tests for vibrations, penetration by sharp objects, fire, and even the effect of contact with sea water. The battery container also survived a head-on collision at 40 km/h (25 mph) and a severe side impact on the battery side of 50 km/h (31 mph).

The Duonic dual-clutch transmission is the first with this technology to be used in a truck anywhere. The unit is based on a mechanical six-gear manual transmission with two hydraulic wet clutches and an electronic control system. The advantage of the dual-clutch system is that when driving, the next gear is already pre-engaged and can therefore be selected quickly and completely smoothly, with no loss of power flow. The Duonic dual-clutch transmission combines the convenience of an automatic with the efficiency of a mechanical manual transmission. The practical crawler function is also a useful feature when maneuvering.

The basic strategy behind the new Canter Eco Hybrid is the use of electric power alone when pulling away and the resultant reduction in noise. Once a speed of 10 km/h has been reached, the diesel engine switches in. It also runs in neutral to provide ancillary power to power take-offs.

Depending on the power demand, the electric motor also supports the diesel engine at higher speeds. A start-stop regulator switches the diesel engine off when the vehicle is stationary, also helping to cut fuel consumption and emissions.

Inside the cab of the Canter Eco Hybrid, a multifunction display provides the driver with an ongoing supply of information about the drive mode and battery charge level.


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