Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hybrid Long Haul Freight Truck Concept Continues to Develop

Volvo Says Trial Vehicle Offers Even Better Economies
Shipping News Feature
SWEDEN – Volvo Trucks has announced that continued developments on their first long haul hybrid freight vehicle mean that it is showing even greater economies in terms of fuel use and emissions standards. First unveiled in May 2016, the Volvo Concept Truck has now had improvements made to its aerodynamics and rolling resistance with a reduced weight and has been converted to a hybrid powertrain, one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks in long haul applications.

In long haul transport movements Volvo estimates that the hybrid powertrain will allow the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30% of the driving time. This will save between 5-10% in fuel, depending on the vehicle type or specification, and its drive cycle. It also offers the ability to drive in full electric mode for up to 10 kilometres, enabling the vehicle to operate with zero emissions and low noise.

The powertrain works by recovering energy when driving downhill on slopes steeper than 1% or when braking. The recovered energy is stored in the vehicle's batteries and used to power the truck in electric mode on flat roads or low gradients. An enhanced version of Volvo Trucks' driver support system I-See has been developed specially for the hybrid powertrain, which analyses upcoming topography to calculate the most economical and efficient choice between the diesel engine and the electric motor, as well as the optimal time to use the recovered energy. Claes Nilsson, CEO at Volvo Trucks, said:

"We strive to be at the forefront of electro mobility and to constantly push the limits when it comes to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Over the coming years, as society moves more and more towards renewable energy, we strongly believe that electro mobility and hybrid technology will become increasingly important. The powertrain in our concept truck has been developed to improve transport efficiency and thereby help the industry towards sustainable transport. With the concept truck we will gain valuable knowledge and experience, which will help us develop the technology further."

In September last year Volvo Trucks North America showed off its latest demonstrator for the US and Canadian markets claiming possible savings of 50% fuel cost even without the hybrid option and the company claims it sells models particularly popular in those regions. Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation, Volvo Trucks, added:

"Today, long haul transport accounts for a significant share of the total energy consumption in the transportation sector. Using hybrid technology, the potential reduction in fuel and emissions is considerable and an important step towards reaching both our and society's environmental goals for the future.”