Daimler is hoping for more government support for the development of more environmentally friendly drive trains.

Head of the commercial vehicle division, Andreas Renschler, gave a presentation on alternative powertrains today, and said that Daimler has invested a billion euros in the last year just on research & development commercial vehicle engines. According to dpa-AFX, which saw a text of the speech before it was given, Renschler would say that Daimler cannot cope with this level of investment alone.

Renschler said that global demand for trucks will rise 50% in the next ten years and that industry, oil producers and politicians must work together to reduce fuel consumption and research alternatives. In some countries, such as Japan, there are already tax incentives for environmentally-friendly trucks. "Such a level of engagement would also be desirable here in Europe," he said.

Renschler was launching an intitiative called Shaping Future Transportation, which is designed to demonstrate Daimler's work in the area. Daimler has already put 1,800 hybrid buses and trucks on the road and a further 1,500 trucks and buses that run on natural gas.

"Commercial vehicles are the force that's driving economic growth and globalization. As the world market leader in this sector, we will therefore offer our customers vehicles that are even more economical and environmentally friendly in the future," said Renschler.

Future Daimler projects include the production of 1,5000 Freightliner M2 hybrid trucks over the next three years and a hybrid version of a Thomas Built school bus. At the same time 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 CzechRepublic next year. In the UK customers in the UK will be conducting a pilot project with ten Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrids.

Daimler is also looking at fuels from renewable sources. According to the commercial vehicle experts at Daimler, the most promising fuels from renewable resources are vegetable oil-derived hydrated fuels (HVOs). Later, they will be joined by BTL (biomass to liquid) fuels. In cooperation with the oil company OMV and the vehicle fleets of two of its customers (DHL and SSB-Stuttgart), Daimler has now commenced fleet testing of HVO fuel in Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses.

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