LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mitsubishi Fuso had on display its prototype Canter Eco Hybrid vehicle during the Mid-America Trucking Show. The Eco Hybrid will be introduced to the Japanese commercial truck market within the next few months and although it is anticipated to reach the U.S. market no date has been set, said company officials.
The new Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid features a parallel hybrid system, which couples a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric motor/generator in an effort to improve overall vehicle efficiency.
“The Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid demonstrates the potential for combining environmental performance and efficiency in an alternative drive vehicle,” said Bob McDowell, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America. “This vehicle shows the technological capabilities and environmental dedication associated with the Fuso brand.”
When slowing down or braking, the electric motor/generator functions as a generator to brake the vehicle. In the Fuso Eco-Hybrid, every time the driver lifts his or her foot off the accelerator, the diesel engine is taken offline and an inverter automatically switches the electric motor/generator into generator mode, feeding electrical power to the lithium-ion battery.
It’s this regenerative braking, as it’s known, that is at the heart of the efficiency, says the company, it’s the equivalent of pouring some diesel fuel back into the tank of a conventional truck every time it slows or stops.
The hybrid system switches its operational mode according to the driving situation. The electric motor is used to drive the vehicle when starting off, then during hard acceleration both the diesel engine and electric motor/generator power the vehicle and while cruising the vehicle is driven by the diesel engine only.
While the hybrid layout is a new development, the individual components making up the engine is technology already in use by the company. The 123 hp turbocharged diesel engine is the same one utilized in conventional medium-duty truck service in Japan for several years. The diesel engine is coupled to an ultraslim 47 hp brushless permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor/generator. Finally, power from both the diesel and electric drives is carried through a Mitsubishi Fuso Inomat II automated mechanical transmission similar to the ones that have been used in Fuso Class 8 trucks for a decade.
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