BRUSSELSCoca-Cola, which has been using hybrid-electric trucks in North America since last year, will roll out the first hybrid vehicle of its kind in Brussels as part of a pilot program, according to the New York Times.

With most hybrid manufacturers based in the U.S., lack of hybrid technology available in Europe has caused the delay of these trucks, said Hubert Patricot, the president of Coca-Cola Enterprises Europe.

The pilot program, to run in Brussels until July, is part of Coke's efforts at "developing a sustainable transport strategy across our European business," Patricot said.

In the United States, Coke has worked with Eaton Corporation to develop hybrid components and with suppliers, including as Kenworth and Cummings, to configure the engines.

Coke's partner in Europe is Iveco, a truck maker belonging to the Italian Fiat Group. Iveco already makes some hybrid vehicles, including city buses and a medium-distance truck called the Eurocargo. Iveco developed the new system to be used in Brussels.

The new Coca-Cola truck, which weighs 12 tons, will serve a 20-kilometer route in the center of Brussels running both diesel and electric engines. A battery feeds the electric motor to start and accelerate up to 20 kilometers an hour. The diesel motor takes over when the vehicle normally consumes the least fuel, at speeds over 20 kilometers an hour.

Initial estimates suggest fuel consumption may be reduced up to 30 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 24 percent with the hybrid vehicle.