Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid: hybrid truck is going to demonstrate its day-to-day suitability and savings potential

  • Five Atego BlueTec Hybrids in day-to-day use in four locations
  • Compact four-cylinder supported by a powerful electric motor
  • Silence at traffic lights thanks to an engine start/stop system
  • Ambitious goals with a view to series production maturity
It celebrated its world premiere in November 2007: during the opening event of the "Shaping Future Transportation" initiative in Stuttgart, Daimler presented the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid with a gross vehicle weight of 11.99 t to the public for the first time. Development has since progressed at a rapid rate, and five examples are now successfully undergoing customer trials with Deutsche Post DHL. The future prospects look bright: distribution trucks with hybrid drive systems can achieve savings in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions amounting to 10 to 15 percent compared to conventionally powered trucks.
Five Atego BlueTec Hybrids in day-to-day use in four locations
The five Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrids undergoing practical trials with Deutsche Post DHL are in operation in four different, carefully chosen locations. This ensures that the vehicles have to prove their worth in very different day-to-day operating conditions with respect to topography, temperatures and routes. These practical trials are scheduled for one year.
These prototypes are backed up by Daimler development engineers. One of the main focal points on the way to series production maturity is integration into existing service concepts. In day-to-day fleet operation, the vehicles must have no major differences from conventionally powered trucks where servicing and cleaning is concerned. Despite the high-voltage system of the hybrid drive unit, this even applies to vehicle washing. Employees of the relevant own-retail outlets and Daimler AG workshop partners are being trained in hybrid technology and the special electrical components concerned. The aim is to give a wider customer base the opportunity to experience the Atego Hybrid in real day-to-day operations from the end of 2010.
Internationally standardised hybrid architecture created for trucks
Daimler Trucks has opted for a parallel hybrid architecture in the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid. This is best suited to the technical layout of the powertrain in a truck. In the chosen arrangement of major units for the parallel hybrid drive system, the electric motor is located behind the internal combustion engine and clutch, but in front of the transmission. This configuration enables the engine and electric motor to power the truck individually, together or in parallel.
This architecture allows moving off under electric power alone, recuperation and boosting by the electric motor, as well as optimising the diesel engine's characteristic map. Other components include the batteries powering the electric motor, a voltage transformer and the hybrid control system. This truck architecture initiated by Daimler Trucks has meanwhile become the international standard.
Compact four-cylinder supported by a powerful electric motor
The hybrid-drive distribution truck is based on the platform of the Atego 1222 L. With a gross vehicle weight of 11.99 t, this falls within a particularly popular distribution truck category in Europe, and is able to operate toll-free on German roads.
The drive system is based on an up-to-date Euro 5 four-cylinder engine. Thanks to the additional drive unit, a smaller and lighter variant of the internal combustion engine was chosen. The start-off performance that is so important in urban operations is at the same level. The OM 924 LA diesel engine with a displacement of 4.8 litres develops an output of 160 kW (218 hp) at 2200 rpm and a maximum torque of 810 Nm at 1200-1600 rpm.
This is supplemented with a water-cooled electric motor developing a peak output of 44 kW and maximum torque of 420 Nm. The motor is an AC permanent magnet motor located between the clutch and the automated transmission.
The hybrid drive system supports the internal combustion engine at defined operating points
The electric motor is fed by lithium-ion batteries. This highly advanced battery technology excels with high performance, achieving both a high power-to-weight ratio (kW/kg) and a high energy density (kWh/kg). The batteries are housed in a container attached to the side of the Atego's frame. All the battery cells are individually monitored and controlled, and the batteries have a separate air-cooling system.
The batteries are charged by recuperated braking energy. When the driver brakes the vehicle, the electric motor acts as a generator and converts the braking energy into electrical power. The same applies on the overrun, when rolling with a gear engaged. With this system, the extra weight of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid compared to the conventional Atego 1222 is around 300 – 400 kg.
The truck moves off under electric power alone
The hybrid drive system gives the conventional diesel engine powerful assistance, especially when moving off and accelerating. The vehicle moves off very smoothly thanks to the electric motor. During this phase the clutch is disengaged and the diesel engine is only in idling mode.
Good acceleration is assured because the full torque of the electric motor already available from idling speed. If additional performance is needed when on the move, for example on uphill gradients or under heavy acceleration, the electric motor supports the diesel engine as a booster for a brief period, depending on the battery's charge status.
In day-to-day operation the driver notices only few differences from a conventional drive system. The electric motor provides its power when moving off and accelerating. While the system output does not exceed the output and torque of the diesel engine, maximum torque is available at a much earlier stage and the torque curve is considerably flatter.
Silence at traffic lights thanks to an engine start/stop system
When moving off, the diesel engine becomes the main drive unit when walking speed has been reached. Until that point it is only used to drive the ancillary units. This not only makes for a significant reduction in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, but also less noise. By using the engine start/stop system, which automatically switches the diesel engine off when idling at rest, the driver can even reduce fuel consumption and noise to zero at traffic lights. Other savings are achieved by control that keeps the internal combustion engine near its best operating point.
Ambitious goals with a view to series production maturity
The powertrain of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid is configured to meet its typical operating profile as an all-rounder: as a distribution truck, it operates in inner-city and densely populated areas, on inter-urban roads and partly also on motorways. The designed operating life of the electrical components is at least 450,000 km, in keeping with the classic operating profile of a distribution truck. One of the clearly defined development aims is to ensure that the hybrid variant shares the legendary reliability of the Atego.

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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: View of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid prototype line
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: View of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid prototype line
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Routing the HV high-voltage cable (400 volts) for the electric motor. Here you can see the converter, battery, cooling unit with water pump and the expansion tank
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Retrofitting the relay, fuses and electronic control unit in the cab. Arranged below is the Hybrid Control Module (HCM)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Atego BlueTec Hybrid display: engine start/stop and HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) components
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Atego BlueTec Hybrid display: engine start/stop and HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) components
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery packaging design at the prototype stage (vermiculite/mineral, PE film)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery packaging design at the prototype stage (vermiculite/mineral, PE film)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery packaging design at the prototype stage (vermiculite/mineral, PE film)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery packaging design at the prototype stage (vermiculite/mineral, PE film)
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Lithium-ion battery test cell measurements
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Assembly of the body builder
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Installation of the lithium-ion battery
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Installation of the lithium-ion battery
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    Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t series production prototype workshop: Assembly of the body builder
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    Driving shots of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t
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    Driving shots of the Atego BlueTec Hybrid 12t
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