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|Spied: Freightliner M2e Diesel-Electric Hybrid|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Tuesday, 29 July 2008 08:51|
While this is not a spy shot in the traditional sense, just after bagging the E-Class of corporate cousin Mercedes-Benz, we encountered something really unusual: a Freightliner commercial truck undergoing extreme hot weather testing in the California desert. What made this truck special is that it is one of Freightliner's new M2e Class 6 diesel-electric hybrids. And instead of trying to duck the 200 mm lens of my Nikon D200, the test engineers pulled off to the side of the road and asked me if they could better position the truck for the best possible shot. No G-Class trying to block my shot--as if it could--as the Freightliner looked to be at least 12 feet tall.
When you come to think of the advantages, a diesel-hybrid electric Class 6 truck makes a lot of sense. In the case of the Freightliner M2e, it combines a Cummins ISB engine that can run up to a 20% biodiesel fuel mixture making it even more environmentally sound. The hybrid electric drive is provided by an Eaton Hybrid Electric Drivetrain System. The system has been tested over the last four years and over two million miles. (With the side of the truck saying "Product Validation" we suspect that this test cycle process is almost completed.) This parallel electric hybrid system is designed to operate using the diesel engine alone or together with the hybrid electric motor.
The hybrid motor provides additional power to launch the vehicle and improves fuel economy in repeated stop-and-go operations as in a passenger car/light truck application. According to Freightliner the M2e is a forward-thinking vehicle for utility, pick-up and delivery, and beverage applications that offers these distinct advantages:
Looking at it from a systems point of view, here are the various components of the M2e system.
While Freightliner is first to market with this green vehicle technology--its now possible for business owners to lease this truck--its competitors can't be far behind. And with its B20 biodiesel capability, it promises to be the most environmentally friendly vehicle in its class.