Yesterday, Daimler Trucks inaugurated its new Global Hybrid Center at Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) in Kawasaki. Located within the company’s R&D facilities, the Center will be the worldwide hub for Daimler Trucks’ hybrid development. A ceremony was held today to officially open the Center. MFTBC is an integral part of the Daimler Trucks division of Daimler AG, and one of Asia’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers.
“The establishment of the Global Hybrid Center at MFTBC shows the increasing focus of Daimler Trucks and Mitsubishi Fuso on developing hybrid commercial vehicles,” said Dr. Eike Bà¶hm, MFTBC Vice President of Product Engineering. “We believe the market for hybrids will expand more rapidly in the future, given the need to further reduce vehicle emissions as well as fuel consumption. The new Center will concentrate our efforts in developing clean, efficient hybrid commercial vehicles to meet market needs now and in the future.”
According to Dr. Bà¶hm, the role of the new Global Hybrid Center is to direct and synchronize Daimler Trucks hybrid development activities on a global basis. All of Daimler Trucks hybrid activities will be aligned under the Center, including regional hybrid personnel at Daimler Trucks divisions MFTBC, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Daimler Trucks North America LLC. A total of 50 people will be affiliated with the Center.
Mr. Fumio Akikawa has been named as Director of the Global Hybrid Center. Mr. Akikawa, a 35-year automotive and truck industry expert, also will continue in his current role as Director of Powertrain Development for MFTBC.
MFTBC was chosen as the location for the Center because of the company’s history and expertise in hybrid vehicle innovation. Mitsubishi Fuso has been developing hybrid vehicles for over 10 years and today offers fuel efficient, low emissions products like the Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck and the Aero Star Eco Hybrid bus for the Japan market. The company has also developed the Canter Eco-D, a concept hybrid light-duty dump truck. Already, MFTBC had been serving as the hybrid competence center for Daimler Trucks. The founding of the Global Hybrid Center expands this role and creates a formal organizational structure for coordinating hybrid development on a global basis.
With the opening of the new Center, Mitsubishi Fuso also announced it will double the number of its dedicated hybrid engineers to about 35 people.
Hybrid Fleet Test Now Underway in Europe
The opening of the Global Hybrid Center comes as Daimler Trucks and Mitsubishi Fuso has launched Europe’s largest fleet test of hybrid trucks.
Mitsubishi Fuso in Europe has presented ten Canter Eco Hybrids to eight customers in London. The three-year evaluation will examine the use of the 7.5-ton hybrid trucks by customers and demonstrate the diesel-electric hybrid drive’s high level of efficiency. The vehicles in the test could consume up to 15 percent less fuel than conventional diesel vehicles, and also significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
The Canter Eco Hybrid’s performance will be documented in a variety of applications, including frequent stop-and-go delivery in the heart of London, as well as longer runs between stores and warehouses. The eight customers involved in the fleet test are Amey, DHL, Hill Hire, Ringway, Royal Mail, Scottish and Southern, Tesco, and TNT.
The vehicles used in the test are tailored for European requirements and include hybrid systems with electric motor and the Euro 4 power train of the series-produced 7.5-ton Fuso Canter. They will be equipped with a new measuring system to collect performance data and will be serviced by two specialized Mercedes-Benz service centers located in the London metropolitan area.
“Shaping Future Transportation”
The opening of the Global Hybrid Center and the start of the Mitsubishi Fuso Europe hybrid test are two more important milestones in the “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses.
“Shaping Future Transportation” is the name of the global initiative of Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses to redouble ongoing efforts to achieve a major reduction in the fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of commercial vehicles. Announced in November 2007 at an event in Stuttgart, Germany, “Shaping Future Transportation” encompasses alternative drive system initiatives across various commercial vehicle brands. Hybrid technology plays a key role in these vehicles, as it can reduce diesel consumption by up to 30 percent, depending on the application.