Lenham Storage takes Britain’s first Atego hybrid truck 06 February 2012

Waitrose stores in central London are now receiving deliveries from the first of a new breed of low-emission Mercedes-Benz trucks.

Operated by shared user distribution specialist Lenham Storage, the Atego BlueTec Hybrid truck employs a Euro 5/EEV (enhanced environmentally friendly vehicle) diesel engine and an electric motor, which can power the vehicle individually or in tandem.

Depending on the application, Europe's first series-produced hybrid truck is claimed to offer fuel consumption savings of up to 15% and a similar reduction in CO2 emissions.

Lenham Storage's new 12-tonner is also equipped with a specially developed version of the Mercedes-Benz MSS (Motor Stop-Start) system, which boosts fuel economy by switching off the engine whenever the vehicle is in neutral and stationary for more than three seconds.

Interestingly, Lenham has also gone beyond green engine technology – specifying, for example, the wind-cheating 'Freddie' roof deflector and collar, from specialist Hatcher Components, on the cab. And aerodynamics also extends to the streamlined Bevan Group Bevan21 box body – complete with curved roof, tapered sides and roof-mounted rear diffuser as well as lightweight, recyclable panels.

Returning to the powertrain, the 60bhp (44kW) water-cooled electric motor offers instantly accessible maximum torque of 420Nm. It draws its energy from a high-performance lithium-ion battery that is charged mainly during braking, through the conversion of kinetic energy into electrical energy.

When starting off, the vehicle is driven by the electric motor, thus ensuring quiet, fuel-efficient and low-emission progress. The 218bhp (160kW) 4.8-litre conventional diesel engine acceleration then moves from idling to power output during acceleration, but with assistance from the electric motor.

A dashboard display allows the driver to monitor performance of the electric motor, confirming whether it is assisting the diesel engine during overtaking, and storing energy during braking.

John Challen

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