With the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show just a month away, commercial vehicle manufacturer Mitsubishi Fuso has provided a preview of its new heavy-duty hybrid truck concept that will be on display. With the recognizably Japanese moniker of the "Super Great HEV" (Hybrid Electric Vehicle), the truck features a conventional diesel engine, an electric motor/generator, lithium-ion battery and related control software that come together to provide what Fuso claims is an increase in fuel efficiency of as much as 10 percent over conventional diesel-only powered vehicles.

Based on technology used in the Canter Eco Hybrid commercial truck, which has sold around 1,200 units since its introduction in 2006, the newly developed Fuso Super Great HEV utilizes a parallel hybrid system, whereby power to drive the vehicle can come from the electric motor, the diesel engine, or both, depending on the driving conditions.

Hybrid technology is already seen as a good fit for commercial vehicles involved in operations, such as garbage collection or short-radius distribution, that sees them constantly stopping-and-starting, which allows energy captured from braking to be fed back to the battery. However, Fuso points out that long-haul trucks can also benefit from regenerative braking by recovering energy as they move down hills. To maximize the energy captured in such instances, Fuso says the Super Great HEV's hybrid system has been optimized so it can capture energy even when the vehicle is going down very slight grades.

"Our development of a long-haul hybrid truck represents a significant expansion of our hybrid activities and shows our focus on bringing cost-effective, low-emission commercial vehicles for a wide spectrum of applications," said Dr. Albert Kirchmann, Fuso President and CEO. "We will continue to promote advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency."

The company says that the first tests of the vehicle performed under real life conditions on motorways in Japan demonstrated an increase in fuel efficiency of as much as 10 percent versus a conventional diesel-only powered vehicle. Based on the positive test results, Fuso now plans to move ahead with development of heavy-duty hybrid trucks, with minimizing the weight of the hybrid system a main areas of focus.

Mitsubishi Fuso will give the Super Great HEV its show premiere at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from November 30 to December 11.