Daimler Launches Commercial Hybrid Initiative

Daimler Launches Commercial Hybrid Initiative

An initiative launched by Daimler on Monday will deepen the company's foray into hybrid commercial vehicle production.

The company showed off its entire line of new and existing hybrid commercial vehicles to mark the launch of its Shaping Future Transportation initiative, which involves worldwide research and development and bringing new models to market under its various brands.

The company currently has more than 3,000 commercial alternative fuel vehicles in use around the world. It plans to add another 1,500 Freightliner M2 hybrid trucks during the next three years, as well as a hybrid Thomas Built school bus. A three-axle articulated Mercedes-Benx bus dubbed Citaro G BlueTec hybrid will go into series production in 2009.

The company also plans to test several models in various markets. For instance, customers in Germany, France and the Czech Republic will test the first Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec hybrids. UK customers also will test 10 Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco hybrids.

Depending on their application, hybrids have the potential of reducing diesel consumption by as much as 30 percent. The company is exploring various alternative fuels, with vegetable oil-derived hydrated fuels and biomass to liquid fuels so far showing the most promise.

"The initiative encompasses all of the globally networked research and development activities in the area of alternative drives and fuels for all of the brands at Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses," said Andreas Renschler, Daimler board of management member and head of Daimler Trucks. "The Shaping Future Transportation initiative also demonstrates that the environmentally friendly commercial vehicles from Daimler are no longer prototypes, but real vehicles that are being used by customers."