The 2011 Tokyo Motor Show marks the return of commercial trucks to the floor after a four-year absence. These trucks, however, are much different than the ones that preceded them.

Today, the show is displaying the next-generation of commercial trucks with a focus on fuel efficiency and the environment thanks to diesel-electric hybrid technology. Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks, which is part of the Daimler Truck Group, has the biggest presence at the show with a number of new models including the Canter Eco Hybrid. This truck is powered by a four-cylinder, Fuso diesel that is mated to an electric motor with lithium-ion batteries. The company also achieved additional weight savings by using a lighter electric motor assembly. The powertrain sends power to the wheels via a new Duonic dual-clutch transmission. This model is expected to go on sale in Japan this spring, with other markets to follow.

Mitsubishi Fuso also unveiled its Fuso Super Great Eco Hybrid, which is an over-the-road heavy-duty hybrid concept.

"We have documented a 10% fuel efficiency improvement vs. conventional trucks in highway driving," said Albert Kirchmann, president & CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso. "We definitely see the Super Great Eco Hybrid in our future product line. . . And it is also the case study for heavy-duty hybrid development in Daimler Truck globally."

The company is displaying an all-electric Canter, which bowed at last year's IAA truck show in Hanover.

"Growth and green innovation will go hand in hand," said Daimler Truck CEO Andreas Renschler during the Fuso press conference. "Governments expect it and society expects it."

Hino Motors also has hybrid trucks on display including its Dutro Hybrid and a number of light-duty hybrid trucks and vans.

Finally, Isuzu is showing off its eco-friendly cred with the Elf Plug-in, a prototype based on a cab used in the NPR, currently used in the North American Market. The Elf Plug-in features fast recharging and electric-powered auxiliary components such as the power steering and vacuum pumps.

Source: Fleet Owner