On the occasion of the International Motor Show (IAA) Commercial Vehicles in Hanover a jury of international experts voted the new Mercedes-Benz Atego 12-tonner “Truck of the Year 2011”.
The commercial vehicle journalists from 23 European countries paid tribute to the innovative technology of the Mercedes-Benz Atego: on the one hand, the new Atego, as highly variable all-round talent ideal for short-radius distribution work; on the other hand, the series-built Atego 1222 L EEV BlueTec Hybrid, seen by the jury as paving the way for alternative drive systems.
The International Jury Truck of the Year commented on the victory of the Atego: “In the new Atego family, Mercedes-Benz presents a versatile medium-duty truck with ‘two souls’. On the one hand, the short-radius distribution driver now gets equipment which not long ago was reserved to long-haul drivers. On the other hand, the progressive parallel hybrid drive promotes the reduction of the CO2 emissions of commercial vehicles within the European Union.”
According to its rules, the jury awards the Truck of the Year title each year to the truck that makes the biggest innovative contribution to road haulage in terms of economy, emissions, safety, drivability and comfort. The Mercedes-Benz Atego scored a total of 127 points to win the competition; the truck that placed second received 82 points, the number three 45 points.
Hubertus Troska, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said on the occasion of the award presentation at the commercial vehicle show in Hanover: “We are pleased that with this high honour the Truck of the Year jury has confirmed our efforts in two significant points: firstly, that we devote to the distributor vehicle the attention it deserves on account of its performance in the daily supply of the needs of our society; secondly, that it was right to continue our investments and developments in technologies of the future like hybrid drive even in economic crisis situations. That now pays off.”
The production Atego BlueTec Hybrid: potential for cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 to 15 percent
The Atego BlueTec Hybrid truck has the potential for cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 to 15 percent in short-radius distribution service compared with conventionally powered trucks. Following successful customer operation of the first prototypes of the Mercedes-Benz Atego Hybrid, at the end of last year the first 50 Atego BlueTec Hybrid vehicles of the next evolutionary stage could be sold to German customers. The purpose of this fleet is to substantiate the workaday practicality of the hybrid truck in real-life customer operation and demonstrate the proverbial reliability of the Mercedes-Benz Atego also in its hybrid variant. Other important aspects of fitness for series production are the Europe-wide registration, the availability of different wheelbase variants, of right- and left-hand drive versions, and professional Mercedes-Benz service in the markets also for the new technology.
Internationally standardised hybrid architecture created for trucks
Mercedes-Benz Trucks relies for the Atego BlueTec Hybrid on a parallel hybrid architecture, as it best suits the technical design of the truck’s power train. In this arrangement of the components for parallel hybrid drives, the electric motor is positioned behind the combustion engine and clutch, but before the transmission. With this design, engine and electric motor can drive the truck individually or in combination. The configuration permits electric start-off, recuperation, boosting by the electric motor, as well as optimisation of the characteristics of the diesel engine. It has proved the best solution. Compared with a conventional drive, additional components include the battery to power the electric motor, frequency converter or voltage transformer, along with the hybrid controls and cooling.
Compact four-cylinder supported by a powerful electric motor
With an eye to emissions, fuel consumption and weight, the up-to-date EURO V EEV four-cylinder engine is employed in the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid. The platform of the distributor vehicle with hybrid drive is the Atego 1222 L EEV. The basic vehicle already meets the environment-friendly EEV standard and, with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 11.99 t, belongs to an especially popular category of distributor trucks in Europe and travels toll-free on German roads. Its compact and light OM 924 LA four-cylinder diesel engine with 4.8 l displacement develops 160 kW (218 hp) at 2200 rpm and delivers maximum torque of 810 Nm at 1200-1600 rpm.
It is complemented by the water-cooled electric motor with peak power of 44 kW and maximum torque of 420 Nm. This is a three-phase permanent magnet motor. The electric motor is located between clutch and automated transmission (the six-speed Mercedes-Benz G 85-6 with Telligent automatic gearshift system).
The hybrid drive supports the combustion engine
The electric motor gets its energy from high-energy, high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are fed with recovered braking energy (recuperation). When the driver applies the brakes to the truck, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the braking energy into current which is then stored in the battery up to the battery’s maximum capacity. The same thing happens when the truck is decelerating – coasting without the accelerator being depressed, but with a gear engaged. A frequency converter changes the DC voltage of the battery into the AC voltage of the electric motor. Using the engine start/stop system reduces fuel consumption and noise to zero at traffic lights. The system automatically shuts the diesel engine off.
As identifying characteristic, the new Atego comes in the up-to-date design of the current truck family from Mercedes-Benz. The redesigned front end with the distinctive radiator grille underscores the family likeness with the current Mercedes-Benz truck range. With that the new Atego also provides an outward indication of its innovative qualities in demanding applications as an all-rounder in short-radius distribution.
Source: Daimler AG