First Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid horsebox gallops into action17 November 2016

Equestrian Sophie Dunkerley has swapped her off-road car and trailer combination for Europe’s first Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid horsebox – the first diesel-electric truck of any brand converted to carry horses.

With its hybrid power and Duonic dual clutch automated transmission, her new 7.5-tonner is already returning an average of 22 mpg, 20% better than the vehicle it has replaced.

“As well as being kinder to the environment and highly cost effective to run, the new truck is far easier to drive, and especially to reverse and turn in tight spaces,” says Dunkerley. “It is also significantly more spacious than its predecessor, having room for two horses and a living accommodation module.”

She adds: “I’ve been using a horsebox trailer for the past 18 years. I always wanted something with more living accommodation but most of the small truck conversions I’ve seen have an inherent problem – by the time the heavy bodywork is built, there’s not very much payload left for a pair of horses, which can weigh around 500kg each, along with their tack, feed, water, diesel and everything else that’s required.”

Supplied by Mercedes dealer Midlands Truck & Van, the chassis has a body-and-payload allowance of 5 tonnes. This means that even with the specialist body, by coachbuilder Equicruiser, of Hampshire, the vehicle can still carry more than 2.5 tonnes.

Laura Cork

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