Warwick-based New Horizon Logistics is living up to its name after commissioning an emissions-busting FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid from local Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

The operator has slashed its fuel bill since setting the state-of-the-art, diesel-electric 7.5-tonner on the road – returns of up to 24 mpg are double those typically achieved by its conventionally powered vehicles!

New Horizon has also achieved significant productivity gains thanks to the Canter 7C15 Eco Hybrid’s impressively high payload capacity, while winning praise for its commitment to the environment from some of its biggest and most important customers.

Founded in 2003, the company provides same- and next-day parcel deliveries and palletised distribution throughout the UK and internationally, as well as warehousing services.

The new truck is the first supplied to New Horizon Logistics by Midlands Truck & Van – like other members of the German manufacturer’s franchised UK Network, the Dealer is additionally responsible for sales and support of the Japanese FUSO range.

The first hybrid truck to make economic as well as environmental sense, the Canter is powered by a 110 kW (150hp) diesel engine which works in parallel with a state-of-the-art 40 kW (54hp) electric motor.

From stationary it uses electric power only, then switches to a combination of diesel and electric operation once a speed of around 6 mph has been reached. Depending on the power demand, the electric motor also supports the diesel at higher speeds; mode switching is seamless, requiring no input from the driver. To optimise fuel-saving an Idle Start-Stop system is fitted as standard.

The truck has a DUONIC® dual clutch automated transmission while the minimal weight of its compact electric motor and lithium-ion batteries – which are covered by a 10-year, unlimited mileage warranty, fully supported by FUSO – allow it to tip the scales at just 160 kg more than the standard diesel-powered Canter. The result is a 5.0 tonne body and payload allowance.

New Horizon Logistics’ vehicle is the subject of 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.

“The Canter can carry cargo weighing up to 3.3 tonnes,” affirmed 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 operator’s customers include a US-owned publisher that specialises in encouraging children to read by staging book fairs nationwide – New Horizon is responsible for delivering cases of books to primary schools and other locations.

“The majority of these schools are located on housing estates and in other built-up areas where the vehicle is running on electric power only,” explained Mr Hutchings. “Our American customer is delighted that its consignments are reaching their destination in such an environmentally-friendly manner.”