For This Operator, Manufacturer Says, It Was a Matter of Conscience
Mercedes-Benz says that its Atego BlueTec Hybrid, “the first hybrid drive truck to be mass-produced in Europe,” has been delivered to more than 110 customers since its launch in 2010, and as such is “the best-selling hybrid truck in Europe.”
The Atego BlueTec Hybrid 1222L is currently the only hybrid truck with European EU 29 type approval, the manufacturer says. It is designed “principally for urban or regional short-radius distribution, [and] particularly shows its worth in short-distance goods delivery.”
The manufacturer cites the example of Klotz, a small haulage firm in the Freiburg/Breisgau area of southern Germany, which has logged some 37,000 miles on its hybrid truck. Bernd Klotz, second-generation manager of the family-owned company wanted the fuel-saving truck “not merely for publicity and image enhancement but rather out of a genuine, personal sense of concern for the environment,” according to a Mercedes release.
“One day fossil fuel supplies and natural resources will come to an end,” Klotz says in Mercedes’ announcement. “Everyone knows this is the case and that is why we must all do something.”
The parallel drive Atego Hybrid provides fuel savings of up to 12% in practical day-to-day regional and urban goods deliveries, Mercedes says.
The truck has a compact, 218-horsepower OM 924 LA four-cylinder diesel engine combined with a 60-horsepower, water-cooled, three-phase permanent magnet motor electric motor between the clutch and the automatic transmission, and lithium ion batteries. The hybrid system adds 350 kilograms – 772 pounds – to the weight of the vehicle.
“This drive configuration enables the truck to be powered by either the diesel engine or the electric motor, or both of the drive systems together,” Mercedes says.
“If the batteries have sufficient charge, pulling away can be done entirely electrically – for example in low-emission pedestrian or urban zones. The diesel engine runs at idle speed, serving solely to drive the ancillary units such as the booster brake and power steering.
Wholly Reliable, Says Klotz
“When increased power is required, the diesel engine is switched in completely via the solenoid clutch. The batteries are recharged in overrun phases or during braking. The automatic start/stop function is fitted as standard and reduces fuel consumption, lowers emissions and brings noise levels down to zero when stopped at traffic lights.”
“In the whole time we’ve had it, we haven’t had one breakdown or unplanned workshop visit,” Klotz said. “Apart from the usual servicing, nothing has ever needed to be done.”
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