Daimler kicked off its Shaping Future Transportation initiative by exhibiting 16 trucks and buses featuring alternative drive systems and fuels from Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso, Mercedes-Benz, Orion and Thomas Built Buses at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
A large fleet of environmentally-friendly commercial vehicles from Daimler are in use including some 1,500 Orion hybrid buses, more than 100 Freightliner trucks, 200 buses and trucks from Fuso, and 1,500 Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses that run on natural gas.
Daimler plans to employ alternative drive systems in additional vehicle models and regions, focusing primarily on hybrids. In North America, Freightliner will manufacture 1,500 M2 hybrid trucks over the next three years and also produce a hybrid version of a Thomas Built school bus. In the meantime, the second-generation Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star Eco Hybrid will be launched on the market in Japan. In Europe, the first Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrids will be delivered to customers in Germany, France, and the Czech Republic next year. Customers in the UK will conduct a pilot project with ten Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrids. For public transportation needs, Daimler unveiled a three-axle articulated Mercedes-Benz bus with the designation Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid, which will go into series production in 2009.
In addition, Daimler, in cooperation with the oil company OMV and the vehicle fleets of two of its customers (DHL and SSB-Stuttgart),is fleet testing vegetable oil- derived hydrated fuel in Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses.