Truck companies are trying to come up with new technology to make their vehicles more ecological. Daimler, MAN and some other companies are already testing electric trucks for urban delivery services, but there is still nothing new for long haul transport. Now Volvo Trucks developed its first hybrid vehicle designed for long haul applications.
Volvo has revealed this concept back in May 2016, but since then it was improved dramatically. It is more aerodynamic, lighter and more efficient. And, of course, has a hybrid power train, which will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by around 30 %. This hybrid powertrain is actually very interesting, because it is the first of its kind in heavy trucks. It gets its electric energy from when truck is braking or going downhill. Usually, this energy is just wasted in a form of heat in the breaks. This energy then is stored in batteries which then are used to power the truck on flat roads or low gradients.
Truck’s infotainment system is also upgraded and will inform the driver about the potential routes that could save some fuel and benefit the hybrid powertrain. In a long haul application it is estimated that the internal combustion engine could be turned off completely for about 30 % of the time. This truck can also cover 10 km in electric mode to be more silent and completely CO2-free. Interestingly this system is not entirely new for Volvo – similar one has been used already in the brand’s buses. Having in mind that there are many hybrid cars on the roads, it makes sense that trucks should go that route too.
Hybrid powertrain is going to reduce fuel consumption by 5-10 % on average, depending on the driving cycle and vehicle type. It may seem like not a whole lot, but trucks are using so much energy that all savings are significant. Claes Nilsson, CEO at Volvo Trucks, said: “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”.
This means that this hybrid Volvo truck is only one of the first steps. It will take some time till all long-haul trucks are hybrid, but at least Volvo is moving to the right direction.