IMAGE: HYBRID TRUCK
AP
This diesel-electric hybrid was developed by Mitsubishi Fuso in Japan.
updated 7/5/2006 3:01:30 PM ET 2006-07-05T19:01:30

Mitsubishi Fuso introduced a "green" diesel-electric hybrid light truck Wednesday that it said will deliver top fuel efficiency among rival hybrid commercial vehicles on Japanese roads.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. said in a statement that the Canter Eco Hybrid, is "a pioneering hybrid electric commercial vehicle for the Japan market," meeting the latest stringent Japanese government emissions regulations.

Mitsubishi Fuso, 85 percent owned by DaimlerChrysler AG of Germany, plans to sell several hundred Canter Eco Hybrid trucks by the end of 2006, with numbers picking up in coming years, it said. The company is beginning customer deliveries in Japan, it said.

DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the truck underlines a technological advance by Mitsubishi Fuso.

"The Canter Eco Hybrid marks a milestone for the global truck industry," Zetsche said. "Customers and the environment will both benefit from this technological advance."

Hybrids deliver better mileage and reduces emissions compared to comparable standard vehicles by switching between two systems, usually relying on electric power at slower speeds and gasoline for higher speeds.

The Canter Eco Hybrid was introduced at a ceremony in Tokyo attended by Zetsche, Andreas Renschler, head of DaimlerChrysler's truck group, and others.

Although DaimlerChrysler abandoned support for Mitsubishi's car division, Mitsubishi Motors Corp., in 2004, it still views Mitsubishi Fuso as key to its ambitions for growth in Asia.

Mitsubishi Fuso will be charged with developing advanced hybrid technologies that will be sold worldwide in the future, the company said in a statement. It already produces a hybrid bus in Japan.

Mitsubishi Fuso said the Canter Eco Hybrid is the cleanest commercially available light duty truck in the world.

It reduces nitrogen oxide by 41 percent and slashes by 46 percent "particulate matter" emissions.

The vehicle also meets an emission standard that won't go into effect in Japan until August 2007, among the strictest in the world, according to Mitsubishi Fuso.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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