Reinvigorated Mitsubishi-Fuso looks toward the future

Updated Dec 7, 2011

At a press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show last week, Mitsubishi-Fuso unveiled its latest package of high-tech trucks and took time to assure customers that the company is almost fully recovered from the devastating March earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan and is taking on a heightened role as Daimler Truck’s advanced fuel and powertrain technology pioneer.

Under the theme “Power to the Future,” Fuso presented four vehicles including the world preview of the new Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck, the Japan premiere of the Canter E-CELL electric truck, the first public exhibition of the Super Great Eco Hybrid heavy duty truck, and a display of the Aero Queen bus with advanced diesel technology. In addition, the company showcased its new light-duty truck hybrid system and advanced SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment system.

Although none of the models debuted in Tokyo will be immediately available in North America, Andreas Renschler, Daimler AG Board Member and CEO of Daimler Trucks and Buses Globally notes that Mitsubishi Fuso has become the company’s worldwide development center for advanced truck powertrains and alternative fuel technology. Daimler owns a 48 percent share of Mitsubishi Fuso.

“Mitsubishi Fuso is an important pillar of Daimler Trucks,” Renschler notes. “And, as a result, is crucial to Daimler’s word wide light duty platforms and strategy – as well as a leader in our efforts to develop alternative powertrains. And this effort will continue as Mitsubishi Fuso’s ambitious Green Initiative gains speed called Fuso 2015: a five-pillar effort to develop Green products, factories and infrastructures and supply chains by 2015.”

According to Dr. Albert Kirchmann, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, “Fuso is already the fuel efficiency leader in the Japanese commercial vehicle industry. We plan to further enhance our leading fuel efficiency position in conventionally-powered diesel
vehicles, while pushing forward with advanced technologies like hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicles. The technologies on display by Fuso at the Tokyo Motor Show are also in line with “FUSO 2015. One of the five pillars is to be a Leader in Green Innovation, meaning we will focus on advances in Green Products, Green Factory and Infrastructure and Green Supply Chainto achieve an aggregate CO2 reduction of 7.5 percent by 2015. Through the Tokyo Motor Show 2011, MFTBC is proposing solutions to protect the global environment while continuing to provide products that enhance customers’ business efficiency worldwide.”

The new Canter Eco Hybrid Light-Duty Hybrid Truck, introduced in Tokyo is the second-generation light-duty hybrid from Fuso. Like its predecessor, the new Canter Eco Hybrid features a parallel hybrid system. It also incorporates the Duonic dual-clutch transmission embedded with a motor, the first ever use of this type of transmission in a commercial truck in the world. A combination of a new high-performance lithium-ion battery and 4P10 diesel engine
aims to achieve the world-leading fuel efficiency for a hybrid light-duty truck. This model will debut in Japan in the spring of 2012, and in international markets later.

Another new vehicle that may eventually show itself on North American shores is concept model Canter E-CELL. Making its Japan premiere, Fuso’s first all-electric light-duty truck has zero CO2 emissions while driving. This all-electric version of the Canter light truck is based on the Canter 3S13 with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tons. Key components include lithium-ion batteries (40 kWh) and an electric motor (output of 70kW, maximum torque of 300 Nm). The vehicle can travel about 120 km with a 10-hour
charge (200V).

And although it is doubtful North American truck fleets will ever get the chance to purchase a heavy-duty Fuso Super Great commercial truck, it is very likely some form of the new The Super Great Eco Hybrid, also debuted this week in Tokyo, will find its way into other DTNA models, including Freightliner and Western Star trucks.

The Super Great Eco Hybrid is Fuso’s development model for heavy-duty hybrid trucks in on-highway applications. The truck uses a newly developed electric motor mated with a 12-speed mechanical automatic, newly developed lithium-ion battery, and Fuso’s 6R10 diesel engine. According to Kirchmann, the new truck has demonstrated a 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency versus conventional diesel-only vehicles when driving on express highways.

Based on these results and overall analysis of heavy-duty hybrid technology, Kirchmann says Fuso believes that hybridization can indeed benefit heavy-duty trucks in typical long-haul operations, and is moving ahead with development. “The Super Great Eco Hybrid is also the case study for heavy-duty hybrid development within Daimler Trucks,” Kirchmann notes. “Technologies and systems developed will be applied in hybrid heavy-duty trucks throughout the group. This effort will be coordinated by the Global Hybrid Center, based in Kawasaki, Japan.”