Green machines

From the lightest vans to the heaviest trucks and buses, ‘green’ thinking was, inevitably, one of the main themes of just about every manufacturer’s display at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show

“We face the question of how we can meet the growing demand for transport services while at the same time lowering emissions,” said Wilfried Porth, head of vans at Daimler. The company’s solution is a cross-brand initiative called ‘Shaping Future Transportation’, featuring hybrid vehicles, including a plug-in hybrid Sprinter van, and a high-efficiency concept diesel van, the Vito BlueEfficiency.

This features an economical six-speed transmission, stop-start function, and a comprehensive package of aerodynamic improvements, which means it uses 1.5 litres less fuel per 100km than a standard Vito, while cutting 40g/km off the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

Volkswagen is also incorporating its fuel-efficient diesels into its van range. The Crafter BlueMotion Studie is a 3.5-tonne van with VW’s latest Euro 5-compliant diesel engines, giving fuel economy of 31.04mpg. This uses an SCR catalyst with AdBlue technology to make significant reductions in NOx emissions.

Nissan is also working on improving fuel economy of its vans. “We’ll be launching two mass-market hybrid light commercial vehicles by 2012,” said Andy Palmer, Nissan’s Corporate vice-president of marketing, LCV business unit.

A hybrid version of the Cabstar light truck was unveiled at the show, which offers a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel economy compared to a conventional diesel equivalent. The hybrid system has been developed in collaboration with transmission specialist ZF. “It is designed for urban areas where stop-start driving is the norm,” said Palmer.

Meanwhile, Iveco CEO Paolo Monferino said his company was well on the way to meeting Euro 6 standards, expected around 2014. This level is already almost achieved by natural gas-powered vehicles, he said. “Iveco is the European leader in this category, with more than 10,000 vehicles in circulation.”

Iveco also has diesel electric hybrid vans and buses in operation, while a zero-emissions battery electric version of the Daily panel van is now available as well.

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