by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Fuso at the 2012 International Commercial Vehicle Show (IAA) in Hanover

I. New Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid: "Green light for efficiency"

- Series production to start in Europe
- Hybrid drive saves up to 23 percent fuel in short-radius distribution
- High-performance batteries with long-life guarantee
- Battery container can withstand a 50 km/h side impact
- Fully automated Duonic dual-clutch transmission
- New truck developed at Daimler Trucks' Global Hybrid Centre in Japan

It's the latest chapter in the success story of the Canter Eco Hybrid: production of the new model in Tramagal, Portugal and its launch on the European market are set to begin in the third quarter of 2012. This will make the Canter Eco Hybrid the first series-produced truck of its class to be manufactured in Europe. Sales of the new generation model have already begun in Japan. The new Canter Eco Hybrid is based on experience acquired from around 1200 predecessor models. Numerous refinements to the electric drive system, plus the Duonic dual-clutch transmission – which is unique in this class – have resulted in a vehicle which is even more economical and environmentally friendly.

Series production in Portugal to use existing process

With production of up to 300 units a year, the first generation Canter Eco Hybrid was in fact already a true series-production model. Now the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has set its sights even higher for the new model, as shown by adding Europe as a production base and extending the model range to include a left-hand-drive variant. The series production process in Portugal will be the one already used for the Canter.

Sales in the major western European markets will begin from the third quarter of 2012, with other countries to follow in succession. Service will be provided by the usual Mercedes-Benz and Fuso partners.

Hybrid drive saves up to 23 percent fuel in short-radius distribution

All the conditions for expanding sales are in place: the new Canter Eco Hybrid uses up to 23 percent less fuel than a comparable conventional Canter.

With the hybrid drive technology adding only relatively little to the vehicle's cost, the Canter Eco Hybrid should pay off after only a few years of normal use. At the same time, the environment will benefit from a reduction in CO2 emissions of several tons and significantly lower noise levels.

Enhanced high-efficiency hybrid drive

The Canter Eco Hybrid's economy is based on its enhanced, high-efficiency hybrid drive technology. It has a parallel-hybrid architecture with the additional electric motor between the clutch and the gearbox. The system was developed by Daimler Trucks at their Global Hybrid Centre in Japan.

The conventional diesel-drive Canter contributes its state-of-the-art 4P10 turbocharged four-cylinder 3-litre diesel engine, which delivers 110 kW (150 hp) and a maximum torque of 370 Nm at 1320-2840 rpm. This engine has an exhaust gas recycling system and a particle filter.

The new Canter Eco Hybrid's electric motor is a permanently excited synchronous motor with an output of 40 kW. Maximum torque is around 200 Nm. As is typical of electric motors, it is ready to provide maximum output immediately from start-up. The usable power band of the liquid-cooled motor is significantly greater than has previously been the case. With a width of 110 mm the electro-motor only constitutes a minor addition to the length of the drive train.

High-performance batteries with long-life guarantee

The motor draws its power from lithium-ion batteries, comprised of nine modules. The batteries are air-cooled and are housed in a tough container located on the left-hand side, between the axles. The batteries have a capacity of 7.5 Ah and only weigh 63.5 kg.

As well as being lightweight and having a high output, the lithium-ion batteries also have a long life. Fuso applies a five-year guarantee to all the main battery components, and it can even be optionally extended to 10 years. Each time the vehicle brakes, the batteries are charged by means of recuperation, a process which converts braking energy into electrical current.

The same holder which contains the batteries also houses the new, compact, liquid-cooled inverter. The DC-DC voltage converter is also integrated in the battery holder.

Battery container can withstand a 50 km/h side impact

As always, Daimler has made safety a top priority in the development of the new Canter Eco Hybrid. For example, in the event of an accident, the entire high-voltage system shuts down immediately thanks to a crash sensor. The driver can also shut the system down manually via the emergency off switch.

The drive system has undergone a large number of tests, including tests for vibrations, penetration by sharp objects, fire, and even the effect of contact with sea water. The battery container also came through the most dramatic of the tests unscathed: a head-on collision at 40 km/h and a severe side impact on the battery side of 50 km/h.

Fully automated Duonic dual-clutch transmission

The Canter Eco Hybrid's power transmission is one of its outstanding technical features. The Duonic dual-clutch transmission is the first with this technology to be used in a truck anywhere in the world. The unit is based on a mechanical six-gear manual transmission with two hydraulic wet clutches and an electronic control system.

The great advantage of the dual-clutch system is that when driving, the next gear is already pre-engaged and can therefore be selected quickly and completely smoothly, with no loss of power flow. The Duonic dual-clutch transmission combines the convenience of an automatic with the efficiency of a mechanical manual transmission. The practical crawler function is also a useful feature when manoeuvring.

Electric motor for pulling away reduces fuel consumption and noise levels
The basic strategy behind the new Canter Eco Hybrid is the use of electric power alone when pulling away and the resultant reduction in noise. Once a speed of around 10 km/h has been reached, the diesel engine switches in. It also runs in neutral to provide ancillary power to power take-offs.

Depending on the power demand, the electric motor also supports the diesel engine at higher speeds. A start-stop regulator switches the diesel engine off when the vehicle is stationary, also helping to cut fuel consumption and emissions.

Inside the cab of the Canter Eco Hybrid, the multifunction display provides the driver with an ongoing supply of information about the drive mode and battery charge level.

Huge payload even with hybrid drive

Not only is the Canter Eco Hybrid economical and environmentally friendly, it can also handle a heavy payload. The Canter is already renowned for its huge payload capacity, and that of the hybrid Canter is surprisingly high, as the hybrid drive only adds around 150 kg to the vehicle's weight.

In Europe, the Canter Eco Hybrid is supplied at a gross vehicle weight rating of 7.5 t, with the chassis having a load-bearing capacity of up to 4,845 kg, which puts even most conventionally-driven trucks in this weight category in the shade.

Just like the conventional Canter, it has a sturdy ladder-type frame with hole pattern throughout, as well as various bodybuilder and power take-off unit interfaces, making it eminently suitable for use with all types of body.

II. Fuso Canter: world best-seller with dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive

- DUONIC: the first dual-clutch truck transmission
- The Canter's outstanding cost-effectiveness
- Canter – a highly versatile programme
- Powerful off-road: the new Fuso Canter 4x4

A world best-seller among light trucks and a real sales hit for Daimler Trucks: the Fuso Canter is at home in all continents and clocks up six-figure sales figures year after year. At the end of last year Fuso introduced the latest generation of the Canter in Europe and extended the range at the beginning of this year with all-wheel-drive models. Two of the technical refinements of the Canter are the Canter Eco Hybrid, now manufactured in series in Europe, and DUONIC, the first dual-clutch truck transmission.

DUONIC: the first dual-clutch truck transmission

The DUONIC dual-clutch transmission is one of the most outstanding technical features of the Fuso Canter, which is currently the only truck in the world with this technology. In addition to lower fuel consumption, the transmission is gentle to the major assemblies, reduces the burden on the driver (particularly on short journeys) and combines the comfort of an automatic with the economy of a manual transmission. The DUONIC dual-clutch transmission is based on a six-speed manual transmission and as an alternative, there is also a manual five-speed transmission.

Both transmissions are connected to a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine which conforms to the Euro V or EEV emissions standards. With its 3.0 l displacement, the engine is available in three output levels: 96 kW (130 hp), 110 kW (150 hp) or 129 kW (175 hp). As the maximum torque of each engine variant covers a broad engine speed range, the Canter is a model of pulling power and drivability.

The Canter's outstanding cost-effectiveness

Numerous factors contribute to the Canter's outstanding cost-effectiveness. The basis is its almost legendary robust construction with a stable frame and steel bumper. The already low fuel consumption can be reduced yet further with the optional start-stop function. Maintenance intervals of 40,000 km mean at least a year's mileage in typical use. What's more, the Canter also has a manufacturer warranty of three years up to a maximum of 100,000 km. The cathodic dip priming of the cab and the powder-coated frame provide superb long-term corrosion protection.

A typical feature of the Canter is a wide selection of cabs. Where maximum manoeuvrability is required, the slim standard cab with a width of just 1.7 m is the right choice. The comfort cab is a full 2.0 m wide. It is also available as a double cab. The functional cab-over-engine Canter is distinguished by a two-tone, harmoniously styled cockpit. A particular feature is the space-saving dash-mounted joystick-style gear lever.

Canter – a highly versatile programme

With total weights of 3.5 to 7.5 t and wheelbases of 2500 mm to 4750 mm, the Canter completely covers the light truck segment. Its features include surprisingly high manoeuvrability thanks to the cab-over-engine design, outstanding use of space and a high payload. The chassis load capacity of the 7.5-t variant can reach more than 5.0 t depending on the wheelbase – the best figure in its class.

Powerful off-road: the new Fuso Canter 4x4

Since early this year the Fuso has extended the range of light trucks to include the Canter 4x4 with all-wheel drive. It is offered as either a single cab or double cab with seven seats under the model designation 6C18 with 6.5 t maximum permissible gross vehicle weight and 129 kW (175 hp) engine output. The all-wheel drive can be activated or deactivated while driving, which makes it a fine example for high fuel efficiency. Standard equipment includes a differential lock for the rear axle.

An approach angle of 35 degrees at the front and a departure angle of 25 degrees at the rear, together with a breakover angle of 25 degrees prove the off-road capability of the Canter 4x4. Drum brakes front and rear (Canter 4x2: disc brakes all round) equip the vehicle for rough use. The minimum ground clearance under the driven axles is 210 or 185 mm respectively. Climbing into the driver's cab is made easier by an additional step under the cab.

Manufacture for Europe in Tramagal/Portugal

The Canter is produced at a number of locations worldwide. For Europe, Tramagal in Portugal has been its home since 1980: from here, both left and right-hand drive variants roll off the production line ready for delivery to more than thirty countries. In terms of value, more than 50 percent of the parts originate from Europe, including the engine, axle components, springs, brakes, tyres, headlamps and lamps, as well as the seats and many of the interior trim elements. The Tramagal plant has turned out more than 160,000 Canters. The factory belongs to Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Europe, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, Japan. Daimler AG owns a share of around 90 percent.

The Canter at the International Motor Show for commercial vehicles (IAA) 2012
Eight exhibition vehicles show the whole bandwidth of the Canter. Taking centre stage are two Canter Eco Hybrid vehicles, one with a box body and the other with a refuse compacter body. The versatility of the Canter from a maximum permissible gross vehicle weight of 3.5 t is demonstrated by two vehicles. One is a 3S13 with the slim standard single cab, 96 kW (130 hp) output, five-speed manual transmission and an aluminium drop-side body. In the same weight class there is the Canter 3C13 with comfort single cab, DUONIC dual-clutch transmission and a lightweight tipper.

A Canter 6S15 stands for a speciality of the model series – vehicles which fall between the van and truck formats. This Canter, with 6.0 t gross vehicle weight, has the standard single cab and a skip loader. The engine output is 110 kW (150 hp).

The Canter ranks as one of the payload giants among 7.5-tonne vehicles. This is shown by a 7C15 D with comfort double cab and a platform body for municipal applications. A Canter 7C18 with a tipper body and loading crane is precisely aimed at the building and building materials industries. It is equipped with a 129 kW (175 hp) engine and DUONIC dual-clutch transmission. An all-wheel-drive 6C18 4x4 is equipped with tipper body and equipment for winter maintenance.

Credits: Daimler AG

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