The company provides same- and next-day parcel deliveries and palletised distribution, and the diesel-electric 7.5-tonner has helped slash its fuel bill – returns of up to 24 mpg are double those typically achieved by its conventionally powered vehicles. Meanwhile the firm’s commitment to the environment has been praised by some of its biggest and most important customers.
The Canter 7C15 Eco Hybrid’s high payload capacity has also benefited the business, bringing significant productivity gains. Thanks to the minimal weight of the electric motor and lithium-ion batteries, the model tips the scales at only 160kg more than the standard diesel-powered Canter, bringing a 5.0-tonne body and payload allowance.
“The Canter can carry cargo weighing up to 3.3 tonnes,” said director Craig Hutchings. “That’s a major improvement on our traditional 7.5-tonners, which offer a payload of around 2.5 tonnes.
“It’s doing exceptionally well in terms of economy too. If the driver stays in auto we can get anything up to 24 mpg, while in manual the returns drop to around 18 or 19 mpg. By contrast, our other vehicles of the same size are doing about 12 mpg.
“Savings of this magnitude are particularly welcome given that fuel prices are starting to creep back up again, and will make a significant difference to our bottom line.”
The Canter is powered by a 150hp diesel engine which works in parallel with a 54hp electric motor. The electric motor is used to start the vehicle, which then switches to a combination of diesel and electric operation from around 6mph. Depending on the power demand, the electric motor also kicks in to support the diesel at higher speeds. To optimise fuel-saving an Idle Start-Stop system is fitted as standard alongside a Duonic dual clutch automated transmission.
The vehicle has been supplied under a CharterWay contract hire agreement from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and is being maintained at Midlands Truck & Van’s Coventry workshop. Its curtainside body is by JC Payne, of Walsall, and fitted with a roller shutter rear door and a 1,000 kg DEL column tail-lift.a