Mitsubishi Fuso is confident its new 7.5-tonne hybrid offers substantial fuel savings, with a driveline built to last
By Dougie Rankine
PHOTOGRAPHY DOUGIE RANKINE
Meet the new Fuso Canter. It’s smaller than trucks you’d usually find us putting to the test, but this is a 7.5-tonner with a difference – it’s claimed to be the world’s first viable hybrid truck.
The regular 7C15 truck has been combined with a 40 kW electric motor to lower fuel consumption and emissions. There’s a weight penalty of 150 kg due to extra hybrid equipment, but the Canter is still notably light, with almost five tonnes of total chassis payload on offer.
We had the opportunity to test drive one of the new Canter range, and ask the team of experts from Fuso more about this potential ground breaker.
The latest generation is powered by a three-litre turbo diesel, as found in the rest of the range. It’s an engine shared with the Iveco Daily van, and you notice this right away out on the road. With Euro 7.5-tonners typically running slow-revving powerplants with comparatively large capacity (eg, the DAF LF has a 4.5-litre engine), the Canter’s little three-litre behaves like a car engine. It’s quick to rev and seems to provide plenty of torque.
The six-speed auto ’box is possibly a bit over-keen to hold onto gears while running empty, but you can always knock it up a gear should you need to. In fact, the whole driving experience is remarkably non-truck like. There’s no air brake system, just a regular handbrake. The dash clocks are rather retro – as if from a 1980s Mitsubishi Colt – while the rev counter tops out at a heady 5000 rpm.
The dashboard and steering wheel are a similar story – simple, well designed, but retro in a distinctively Japanese fashion. It’s very simple to use, with the tacho, CD head unit and heating controls stacked neatly beside the steering wheel. Overall, the cab feels compact and, although there are three seats, it can feel cramped with two passengers on board. Storage space is minimal, with little facility to tuck away items of kit. This is the only cab option – no sleepers are available – but that would be missing the point. If you want a payload the size of the Canter’s, you’re going to have to make some concessions elsewhere.
Read the rest of this test, including spec and verdict, in the June issue of Trucking