by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTEC Hybrid: Setting a good example for the region

The Mercedes-Benz 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 proves its suitability for everyday use on a daily basis. Designed principally for urban or regional short-radius distribution, it particularly shows its worth in short-distance goods delivery.The Atego Hybrid is the best-selling hybrid truck in Europe.

Companies in this sector using the Atego BlueTec Hybrid 1222L – currently the only hybrid truck with the European EU 29 type approval – not only enjoy a considerable image improvement by demonstrating their environmental consciousness and innovative spirit, but also achieve a more effective CO2 reduction and significant economic advantages by reducing their fuel consumption.

As, for example, is the case of Klotz, a small haulage firm in Freiburg/Breisgau, southern Germany, which has had an Atego BlueTec Hybrid reliably on the road for more than a year and almost 60,000 kilometres with no problems. The family firm was founded in 1970 and Bernd Klotz, the second-generation manager, was particularly keen to be the first user of the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid truck in the Baden region, not merely for publicity and image enhancement but rather out of a genuine, personal sense of concern for the environment. "One day fossil fuel supplies and natural resources will come to an end," said the softly-spoken haulier. "Everyone knows this is the case and that is why we must all do something."

In practice, the Atego Hybrid provides fuel savings of up to 12% in day-to-day regional and urban goods deliveries around Freiburg when compared with a conventionally driven truck in the same weight category (11.99 t). That's even the case in constantly changing driving and weather conditions, stop-start traffic or congestion in permanently overcrowded busy cities.

Parallel hybrid technology

The Atego BlueTec Hybrid is based on the so-called "parallel hybrid" principle. The compact OM 924 LA four-cylinder diesel engine (Euro V EEV; 4.8 l displacement; 160 kW (218 hp) output at 2200 rpm; with a maximum torque of 810 Nm at 1200-1600 rpm) is combined with a water-cooled electric motor – maximum output 44 kW (60 hp) and 420 Nm – and a set of lithium-ion batteries located on the vehicle frame. The three-phase permanent magnet motor is located between the clutch and the automatic transmission – a Mercedes-Benz G85 six-speed "Telligent® automatic gearshift" transmission. 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. 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. 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.

The total weight of the hybrid system installed in the Atego is only 350 kg, thus it only slightly reduces the available payload – an important sales point in the weight-sensitive transport business. Haulier Bernd Klotz for one thoroughly recommends "his" Atego Hybrid: "In the whole time we've had it, we haven't had one breakdown or unplanned workshop visit. Apart from the usual servicing, nothing has ever needed to be done. The truck was and is as reliable as we are used to from Mercedes-Benz."

Credits: Daimler AG

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