Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New Mercedes Wins Truck Of The Year

Atego and Atego BlueTec Hybrid Win Medium Truck Range Award
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Better news for Mercedes-Benz this week when it once again lifted the International Truck of the Year title, after its new Atego beat off competitors to win the prestigious award. The new Atego range including for the first time factory-built diesel-electric hybrid version, polled 127 points from the judging panel of top industry journalists, representing 23 European countries. Its victory came by a comfortable margin: the second-placed vehicle scored 82 points.

The International Truck of the Year title is awarded annually to the vehicle which, in the eyes of the judges, makes the biggest innovative contribution to road haulage in terms of economy, emissions, safety, driveability and comfort. On top of its winning performance in all these categories, jury members were particularly impressed by the new Atego’s comprehensive list of standard equipment, and by the presence in the range of a clean, ‘green’ hybrid drive variant.

The judging panel’s verdict stated: “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.” The new vehicles seem admirably suited to the freight and general haulage environment.

The new Mercedes-Benz Atego range includes trucks from 7.5 to 16 tonnes gvw. All versions feature a new exterior, with styling reminiscent of the premium long-haul Actros tractor unit rangewhilst inside the cab, a new multifunction steering wheel allows drivers to operate the computer, radio, telephone and other devices safely and easily, without removing their hands from the wheel. There’s a new instrument cluster which includes an ecometer, to show the most economical engine speed range, and significantly upgraded seats, with new contours and a range of comfortable, hard-wearing covers. In-cab storage is also improved and the list of optional extras now includes a 23-litre electric coolbox.

The Atego 1222 BlueTec Hybrid is a 12-tonne gvw vehicle powered by a 4.8-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 160kw (218hp), supported by a 44kW electric motor. The truck not only meets the latest Euro 5 emissions criteria, but also the more stringent, and voluntary EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) standard.

Trials have shown it has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 10-15 per cent in short-radius distribution work. The diesel engine and electric motor are in parallel, so both can drive the vehicle individually or in combination – the high-performance lithium-ion batteries can also be fed with energy recovered during braking.