Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has sold 10 hybrid trucks to an Irish company.

The Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid is the first series-production hybrid truck to be sold in Europe. and the first customer is utility company, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in Dublin.

ESB plans to use the vehicles for customer service and for infrastructure maintenance. The Irish government granted a special permit for the Japanese hybrid trucks.

The Ireland order plus and another from Australia, also for 10 units marks the first exports of Fuso hybrid trucks to customers outside Japan.

The truckmaker said it planned to expand hybrid business into targeted export markets starting in 2010.

"Building on the success of the Canter Eco Hybrid in Japan, we are pursuing opportunities worldwide," said president and CEO Albert Kirchmann.

"As the global hybrid centre of Daimler Trucks, Mitsubishi Fuso is committed to developing and implementing clean hybrid commercial vehicles. The orders from Ireland and Australia show how strong demand is for these vehicles."

Mitsubishi Fuso has offered the Fuso Canter hybrid in its home market since July 2006 and has sold over 600 to date. The light truck has a parallel hybrid system and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Rival Toyota offers a Dyna small truck hybrid using an electric motor to boost the output of the I4 diesel engine.

Fuso hybrid trucks are also operating as a test fleet here in the UK.

The truck is also targeted at other sectors including parcel and freight delivery and the food and beverages industries.

"We are proud to bring a vehicle with low emissions, great fuel efficiency and impressive reliability to the global market.This is an important first step in our efforts to strengthen hybrid truck sales," said Fuso's international sales and marketing manager Kai-Uwe Seidenfuss.

Daimler opened its Global Hybrid Centre and launched an updated Canter hybrid last year. Located at Mitsubishi Fuso headquarters in Kawasaki, Japan , the GHC serves as the automaker's global development base for hybrid trucks.

Hybrid development is part of Daimler's 'Shaping Future Transportation' initiative, which aims to achieve a major reduction in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of commercial vehicles. Shaping Future Transportation comprises work on alternative drive systems for various commercial vehicle brands. Hybrid technology plays a key role in these vehicles, as it can reduce diesel consumption by up to 30%, depending on the application.