The Atego BlueTec® Hybrid.
Two drive systems for lower emissions.
It stands for climate-protecting short-radius distribution transport: “Truck of the Year 2011” and Europe’s first series-production hybrid truck: the Atego BlueTec® Hybrid. An electric assembly supports the internal-combustion engine and even takes care completely of the intensive-fuel-consumption pulling-away phase.
Thanks to this, diesel consumption and the consequent CO2 emissions are around 15 percent lower than those of a conventional vehicle with a similar output. Depending on operating conditions and topography, even higher savings are possible. Exactly 50 units of these 12-ton trucks were delivered in a first phase in mid-2011.
Pioneer from Rostock.
One of these was bought by Stephan Gustke, managing director of Gustke Logistik in Rostock. What decided them in favour this investment? “A major customer asked me what our company was doing in the environment protection sector”, the forwarding agent relates. At that time, quite a lot, actually. For instance, all company trucks drove with the Mercedes-Benz FleetBoard online fleet management system that contributes towards fuel-economising driving through its comprehensive operation and consumption analyses. “We have a bonus system in place for drivers who pay special attention to these aspects.”
In the parallel hybrid drive system both assemblies can work either independently of each other or combined.
All the same, Stephan Gustke felt spurred on by the customer’s enquiry. So it was that the information about the hybrid truck provided by his Mercedes-Benz dealer was highly welcome. The “Truck of the Year 2011” is based on an Atego 1222 L with Euro V.
It already complies with emission standard EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) for exceptionally low emissions. The diesel engine with a displacement of 4.8 litres delivers 160 kW, the water-cooled electric motor has an output of 44 kW. It is located between the diesel engine and the transmission. In this parallel hybrid drive system both the assemblies can either work alone or combined.
A display provides a clear overview.
The electric motor is fed by lithium-ion batteries. These constantly receive new power when the brakes are applied – whether engine or service brake. The energy released is recovered as electrical energy in a process called recuperation. And even when the Atego BlueTec® Hybrid is simply coasting, energy is fed to the battery. At a speed between 25 and 30 kilometres per hour, the diesel engine kicks in, but continues to receive support from the electric motor – depending on the situation until the fourth of the six gears.
Which components are active and when, is communicated via a display above the instrument cluster. The image represents a simplified 2D graphic view of the truck from below. When pulling away, for instance, the electric motor assembly is displayed in white and a band of green arrows streams towards the rear axle: this means the electric motor is delivering power to the drive axle. When the diesel engine intervenes, both power units light up in white on the display.
Clean, quiet and agile
across the city.
When the Hybrid Atego approaches a roundabout, for example, the well-schooled driver – a schooling is obligatory when taking delivery of the truck in Wörth – removes his foot from the accelerator pedal and actuates the wear-free brake. The rev counter then speeds up while the display shows the arrows running now towards the electric motor to indicate that energy is being recovered by braking. At the same time the battery charge status rises, which is shown by a rising charge percentage.
The Atego BlueTec® Hybrid operated by Gustke Logistik is only driven in the Rostock urban area – and by one driver exclusively. At red traffic lights or in traffic jams in the evening rush hour traffic: in the course of a workday enough braking manoeuvres and coasting phases add up to provide the battery with the necessary amount of energy.
The truck covers distances of around 100 km per day. Some days a dozen customers are visited, on other days it might be 20. Pulling away in electric mode is mastered by the vehicle more quietly than conventional 12-tonners. Another extremely pleasant effect of the electric motor drive system: it enables particularly sensitive manoeuvring.
The rental option: Charter Way.
“A hybrid costs more, but it is proof that one is earnestly concerned about doing something to protect the environment” says Gustke. For this it is not necessary to buy the vehicle, as Mercedes-Benz CharterWay has recently incorporated the Atego BlueTec® Hybrid in its programme – making it the first commercial vehicle rental company with an electricity-powered truck in its fleet. Gustke sees the investment in the fuel-saving Atego as a double measure for image building for his own company and for the entire transportation and logistics sector. And finally, but not least of all, Gustke hopes for many imitators: “it would be great if our example were to set a precedent for others to follow.”