MBTech Shows Off Plug-In Hybrid Pickup Concept at IAA Show in Hannover

Daimler subsidiary MBTech has presented a 1:1 scale model of its Reporter concept study at the 63rd IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover. The four-seater plug in hybrid pickup truck with the Smart Fortwo-esque fascia was designed in just six months using CAD and digital prototyping.

At a press conference at the show, MBTech President and Spokesperson Werner Kropsbauer explained the rationale behind the Reporter: "We wanted to create a low-emission vehicle drive for urban and regional transport which is realistically feasible today and not in 2025."

Though the example shown at the IAA Show was merely a mock up, MBTech has been thinking about the drive system for a working prototype. The Reporter would use a plug-in hybrid system MBTech calls DualX E-Drive, which couples a 70 kw (94 hp) electric motor with a 75 kw (101 hp) 1.2-liter internal combustion engine that can run on either gasoline or compressed natural gas.

In the DualX E-Drive system, the electric motor turns the rear wheels while the ICE turns the front. The two systems can either work independently or together, though MBTech has not said what switching from FWD to RWD to AWD would do to the driving dynamics.

The Reporter is expected to have a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and a combined range of 300 km (186 miles), which drops to 55 (34 miles) if using only the electric motor.

It also features a network of tiny solar cells on the tonneau cover, which produce 266 Watts – enough to power the air conditioning, interior lightning or the sound system (though not all three at once). The cells can also be used to recharge the vehicle's 12 volt battery.

By Tristan Hankins