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Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid: first financially viable ‘green’ truck?

  • 29 October 2012
  • By George Barrow

It’s said to be the first financially viable hybrid truck, but with a premium of £7,250 and 150kg weight penalty over the regular Fuso Canter 7C15, the 7.5-tonner Eco Hybrid has a lot of ground to make up.

Power comes from the same Euro-5 147hp, 3-litre diesel engine as in the standard Fuso Canter, however the hybrid also incorporates a 40kW motor into the driveline.

Situated between the clutch and the Duonic dual-clutch transmission, the motor looks to take the strain away from the engine, lowering revs under acceleration and ultimately reducing consumption.

With a 2kWh maximum capacity in the lithium-ion batteries, there isn’t a great deal of energy to call upon, but up to 10kph the Canter functions entirely on electricity, with the lack of audio from the accelerating engine distinctly noticeable.

Above 10kph the electric motor provides a boost to the combustion engine, but importantly delivers no added performance improvement at the rear axle, instead benefitting overall fuel consumption. In effect the 110kW (148hp) output of the diesel engine only Canter is matched by 40kW (54hp) from the electric motor, and 70kW (94hp) from the combustion engine to return the same 110kW output.

It is an effective and seamless system that save for the lower engine noise is indiscernible from the regular Canter, but one that is said to use up to 23% less fuel – resulting in an estimated four year payback.

Information is power

A dashboard display indicates whether or not you are charging the battery or assisting the engine. Up to 100% of the energy lost through braking can be recovered by the system and used to charge the battery.

Best of all, when there is a high state of charge in the battery, the combustion driveline disengages to allow full electric driving at speeds above 10kph, benefitting operations that aren’t just restricted to stop/start scenarios.

Annoyingly there is no way of prompting this switch, which seems largely dependant on conditions (i.e. flat terrain), but on several occasions CM managed to enjoy more than 15 seconds of full electric driving at speeds of more than 50kmph before the engine resumed.

Next generation

This is now the second generation of the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid that has been refined for UK and European sales based on feedback from the Japanese market, where hybrid Canters have proved enormously popular.

Capacity of the lithium-ion battery has increased by 33%, and the cells come with an optional 10 year warranty, or five years as standard.

Maximum payload is slightly reduced, but the total chassis payload is still 4.85 tonnes. It’s already got UK orders to its name, and several parcel delivery companies have agreed trials. This will almost certainly be converted to orders if the 23% fuel savings stack up


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