Brewer Raises A Toast To Cleaner, ‘Greener’ Canter Eco Hybrid
The Bristol Beer Factory is now distributing its award-winning ales aboard a new FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid, the world’s first diesel-electric truck to make economic as well as environmental sense.
The factory-built 7.5-tonner offers impressive fuel savings, as well as correspondingly lower CO2 emissions, compared to a conventional, diesel-engined vehicle.
Supplied by Mercedes-Benz Dealer City West Commercials – the manufacturer’s GB network is additionally responsible for sales and support of the popular Canter light truck range – the Bristol Beer Factory’s vehicle bears a message on its rear shutter door that reads: “This truck drinks responsibly. Do you?”
The brewer’s decision to invest in the Canter’s ground-breaking hybrid technology is particularly timely, given that Bristol has been named European Green Capital 2015 in recognition of its environmental achievements and commitments.
The Bristol Beer Factory operates from The Old Brewery in Durnford Street and Councillor George Ferguson, the first independent mayor to lead a major British city, is its Chairman. Founded in 2004, the company produces a range of hand-crafted beers that includes no fewer than three national champions: Southville Hop, Independence and Milk Stout.
The new Canter Eco Hybrid is its biggest commercial vehicle yet, the company having previously relied on vans to deliver its beers to customers as far afield as Cheltenham, Gloucester, Chippenham and Wells. The truck’s eye-catching curtainside body is by Burnell & Son, of Bristol, and features familiar landmarks from the city skyline.
Bristol Beer Factory Managing Director Simon Bartlett explains: “We have won several awards and enjoyed a period of rapid expansion over the last couple of years. As a result, we needed a bigger vehicle so we didn’t have to keep coming back to the brewery to reload.
“Environmental compatibility was one of our key criteria when we went out to the market to find out what was available. So, too, were payload potential and all round suitability for the job, as well as running costs. The Canter Eco Hybrid ticked all the boxes and was a clear winner.”
The model’s 110 kW (150 hp) diesel engine works in parallel with a state-of-the-art, slimline, 40 kW (54 hp) electric motor. Having set off using electric power alone, the vehicle switches to a combination of diesel and electric operation once a speed of around 6 mph (10 km/h) has been reached. Depending on the power demand, the electric motor also supports the diesel at higher speeds. Switches between modes are seamless and require no input from the driver.
The Canter’s compact external dimensions and manoeuvrability make it ideally suited to urban operations, while it also offers the highest body and payload allowance of any 7.5-tonner on the market. The light weight of its electric motor and lithium-ion batteries – which are covered by a 10-year, unlimited mileage FUSO Warranty – means the hybrid version tips the scales at just 160 kg more than the standard Canter. But the resulting 5.0-tonne body and payload allowance still leaves conventionally powered rivals in the shade.
Mr Bartlett continues: “The Canter has certainly improved our operational efficiency, while the fact that it’s smaller than most 7.5-tonne vehicles is an added bonus, as we have to negotiate some narrow streets and tight delivery areas.”
City West Commercials will be servicing the Eco Hybrid under a five-year Mercedes-Benz Repair and Maintenance Contract. Adds Mr Bartlett: “I’ve also been very pleased with the support we’ve had from the dealer, and particularly its truck sales executive Simon Johnson-Taylor. We’ve not run anything bigger than a van before, and he gave us a lot of useful advice in terms of legislation, and getting the drivers trained and qualified with C1 LGV licences to drive the new truck.”
The Canter Eco Hybrid is fitted with a fuel-saving Idle Start-Stop system as standard, while the light weight of its 7.5-tonne chassis also gives it an advantage over rival products in terms of diesel costs per tonne/kilometre – when running partially loaded or empty, not only does the Canter consume less fuel, but it also incurs less wear and tear on the driveline and braking system than other, heavier vehicles in its gross weight segment.