Canter Eco Hybrid Scores A CLEAN Win For The Environment
Leading textile rental provider CLEAN Linen Services is making big savings on its fuel bill while also cutting its carbon footprint after setting its first FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid on the road.
Supplied by Rygor, Reading, the vehicle is assigned to collection and delivery work in London, and achieving fuel returns in the 26-31 mpg range – this compares to the very respectable 15-18 mpg averages recorded on similar work by the operator’s established Mercedes-Benz Atego 7.5-tonners.
So pleased is CLEAN Linen Services with the Eco Hybrid’s performance that it has now ordered a second, identical vehicle from Rygor, Britain’s biggest Mercedes-Benz Dealer – the manufacturer’s UK network is additionally responsible for sales and support of the popular Canter light truck range.
Holder of a Royal Warrant as launderers and dry cleaners to Her Majesty The Queen, CLEAN has headquarters in Maidenhead, Berkshire, and other laundries in Banbury, Camberley and Reading.
The Canter Eco Hybrid’s low emission credentials appealed strongly to CLEAN, which is committed to a rigorous carbon reduction programme across all of its operations – opened in 2010, its Camberley plant is one of the most advanced, environmentally-friendly facilities of its kind in the world.
The factory-built 7.5-tonner was launched late last year and is the world’s first diesel-electric truck to make economic as well as environmental sense. It offers impressive fuel savings, as well as correspondingly low CO2 emissions.
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, which is positioned between the clutch and DUONIC automatic transmission. 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.
CLEAN’s first Eco Hybrid is the subject of a CharterWay contract hire agreement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, under which it will cover 50,000 km a year. Its box body is by Wessex Vehicle Services, of Salisbury.
“We strive to be as environmentally efficient as possible, and the Canter Eco Hybrid compliments the efforts being made in our plants to minimise our carbon footprint,” confirms Financial Director Martin Oxley.
“But we operate in a very competitive environment so have to be conscious of our costs as well. The fact that the vehicle also adds up from a business point of view is crucial.”
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. The resulting 5.0-tonne carrying capacity still leaves conventionally powered rivals in the shade.
Mr Oxley continues: “Payload is vital for our operations so it’s ideal to have that extra carrying capacity, not least because it can make life easier for our transport department in terms of route scheduling.”
The light weight of the 7.5-tonne Canter chassis also gives it an advantage over rival products in terms of fuel costs per tonne/kilometre – when running partially loaded or empty, not only does the Canter consume less fuel it also incurs less wear and tear on the driveline and braking system than other, heavier vehicles in its gross weight segment.
CLEAN operates approximately 40 rigid trucks with gross weights of between 7.5 and 18 tonnes. The company bought its first Mercedes-Benz vehicles four years ago – today, the three-pointed star accounts for 95 per cent of its fleet.
“Our Mercedes-Benz trucks have proved very reliable, cost-effective to operate and popular with our drivers,” adds Mr Oxley.
“Of course, at 7.5 tonnes gvw the Mercedes-Benz Atego doesn’t offer the same fuel efficiency or payload as the Canter Eco Hybrid but it’s a different type of vehicle – while the Canter is ‘spot on’ for city centre work, the Atego’s higher specification and levels of comfort make it better suited to medium range operations. It’s all about the right vehicle for the right job.”