Mitsubishi Fuso Announces Development of
Heavy-Duty Hybrid Highway Trucks

October 24, 2011

•  Promising results: 10% fuel efficiency increase vs. conventional diesel engines in testing so far
•  Based on evaluation, Fuso moving ahead with development
•  ‘Commitment to Green Innovation’

Kawasaki - Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), one of Asia’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, today announced that it is developing heavy-duty hybrid-electric trucks, with plans to commercialize in the future. The company is currently testing a hybrid-electric version of its Super Great heavy-duty highway truck, and has demonstrated significant fuel efficiency improvements over conventional diesel-only vehicles.

“Fuso is committed to leadership in Green Innovation,” said Dr. Albert Kirchmann, MFTBC President and CEO. “Our development of heavy-duty hybrid highway trucks represents a significant expansion of our hybrid activities, and shows our focus on bringing cost-effective, low emission hybrid vehicles for a wide spectrum of commercial vehicle applications. We will continue to promote advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency - for the benefit of our customers and society at large.”

Heavy-Duty Hybrid Setup

The heavy-duty hybrid truck in development is based on technology used in the Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck, in commercial operation since 2006.

The hybrid Super Great in development features a conventional diesel engine; electric motor/generator; lithium(Li)-ion battery; and related control software. These are configured in a parallel hybrid system. That means power to drive the vehicle comes from the vehicle’s electric motor, the diesel engine or both. Fuel efficiency and emissions reduction are achieved by using them in combination with each other according to driving conditions. When slowing down or braking, the electric motor/generator functions as a generator to brake the vehicle. The generator converts brake energy into electric energy and stores it in the Lithium(Li)-ion battery for future use.

Accumulated Test Results

MFTBC’s testing of heavy-duty hybrids so far has show an impressive 10% increase in fuel efficiency versus conventional diesel-only powered vehicles. Testing has been conducted principally on expressways in Japan, in representative conditions for a long-haul or regional-haul heavy-duty truck.

“Our evaluation so far shows that hybridization can indeed benefit heavy-duty trucks in typical long-haul operations,” said Mr. Gustav Tuschen, MFTBC’s Vice President of Product Engineering. “The conventional thinking is that hybrids best fit light-duty truck operations in urban areas, since such operations involve many stops and starts. While small truck operations in big cities do benefit from hybrid power trains, due to their ability to frequently recapture braking energy, heavy-duty highway trucks clearly can benefit as well.”

Mr. Tuschen explained that heavy-duty long-haul trucks recover and store energy as they move up and down hills. In addition, they use higher braking power and tend to run much longer distances than city trucks, therefore, the benefits of hybrids accumulate. The hybrid system is optimized so it can capture energy even when the truck is going down very slight grades. The parallel hybrid system ensures that energy loss is minimized.

Also related to their high mileage, the CO2 reduction effect of a long-haul hybrid heavy-duty truck is 5 or more times that of a light-duty truck with high mileage.


Based on the positive test results so far, Fuso is moving ahead with development of heavy-duty long haul trucks.

The key challenge with heavy-duty hybrids, as with all hybrid commercial vehicles, is to ensure overall lifecycle cost benefits for customers. That means for significant market penetration to occur, the fuel economy and other cost benefits and must exceed the added cost to purchase a hybrid vehicle.

Therefore, Fuso will work to optimize cost in all aspects, while ensuring reliability, durability and performance. Special focus will be take to minimize the weight of the heavy-duty hybrid system, so customers can maximize their payload.

Global Hybrid Center

The hybrid heavy-duty truck development is the latest achievement of the Global Hybrid Center (GHC) of Daimler Trucks.

Located within MFTBC’s operations here, the GHC is the worldwide hub for Daimler Trucks hybrid vehicle development. It is charged with synchronizing Daimler Trucks’ global hybrid efforts including activities at Daimler Trucks North America in the NAFTA region and Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Europe.

Key achievements related to the GHC include:

  1. Canter Eco Hybrid sales exceeding 1,200 units.

As  of August 2011, MFTBC has sold 1,230 Fuso Canter Eco hybrid light-duty trucks since the launch in 2006.

2. U.K. Hybrid Fleet Test

In August 2008, MFTBC launched a three-year evaluation of Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty trucks operating in London. MFTBC delivered ten Canter Eco Hybrids to eight customers in London to examine the use of the 7.5-ton hybrid trucks by customers and demonstrate the diesel-electric hybrid drive's high level of efficiency. Depending on its particular application, the Canter Eco Hybrid has used around 10 to 15 percent less fuel than a conventional light-duty truck, with correspondingly lower CO2 emissions.

3. International Launch of Canter Eco Hybrid Light-Duty Truck.

In late 2009, Fuso began international sales of hybrid trucks, providing vehicles to customers outside Japan for the first time. First international customers included Electricity Supply Board (ESB), an Ireland electric utility based in Dublin, and Star Track Express, an Australia express delivery company based in the Sydney area. In 2010, Fuso also entered the Hong Kong market with hybrid trucks.

4. Energy Conservation Prize for Aero Star Eco Hybrid Bus

In January 2009, the Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star Eco Hybrid large non-step route bus received the “Energy Conservation Center Chairman's Prize.” The award is presented by the Energy Conservation Center of the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The Aero Star Eco Hybrid bus was in the category “Excellent Energy Conservation Equipment/System” in the 19th Energy Conservation Grand Prize Awards.

Canter E-Cell

Adjacent to its hybrid activities, Fuso has also unveiled an electric light-duty trucks. In September 2010, the company premiered its concept model Canter E-CELL with battery-electric drive system at the 63rd IAA (International Automobil-Ausstellung) for Commercial Vehicles.

The vehicle can travel about 120 km after about six hours charging via a 380-volt power network outlet. It works towards achieving emissions-free mobility in densely populated areas and environmentally-sensitive areas.

Shaping Future Transportation

Mitsubishi Fuso’s hybrid and electric vehicle activities are part of the “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative of Daimler Trucks and Buses. “Shaping Future Transportation” aims at redoubling ongoing efforts to achieve a major reduction in the fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of commercial vehicles. Hybrid vehicles play a significant role in these efforts, because of their high potential for emissions reduction and fuel efficiency.


Based in Kawasaki, Japan, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) is one of Asia's leading commercial vehicle manufacturers. In 2010, the company sold a total of about 140,700 vehicles including light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. Daimler AG owns 89.29% of MFTBC shares and various Mitsubishi group companies own 10.71% of MFTBC shares. MFTBC is an integral part of the Daimler Trucks Division of Daimler AG.