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Volvo electrifies heavy truck with hybrid technology

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- The Volvo Group rolled out a new hybrid solution for heavy vehicles, which the company says can...

GOTEBORG, Sweden — The Volvo Group rolled out a new hybrid solution for heavy vehicles, which the company says can offer fuel savings of up to 35 per cent.

“We envisage opportunities to accelerate developments in commercially viable hybrids for heavy vehicles. This can be significant for both our customers and for the environment,” says Leif Johansson, president and CEO of Volvo.

The hybrid’s design is fixed to offer maximum fuel-saving effects on routes with frequent braking and accelerations, as the batteries are recharged by the diesel engine and whenever the brakes are applied.

The hybrid concept is designated I-SAM and it consists of a combined starter motor, drive motor and alternator, along with an electronic control unit. I-SAM interacts with Volvo’s I-Shift automatic gearshifting system.

“Thanks to the electric motor’s capacity, the diesel engine can be automatically switched off when the truck stops to make deliveries, pick up loads or pauses at traffic lights,” explains Lars Mrtensson, environmental affairs manager at Volvo Trucks.

Auxiliary functions such as the servo pump, AC compressor and so on are driven electrically in the hybrid truck instead of by the diesel engine. With the interaction between the two power sources, the vehicle can be fitted with a smaller diesel engine without compromising on performance, reports the company.

“The hybrid is a long-term and highly interesting solution for efficient and environmentally-adapted transport activities. We are aware that oil prices for our customers will rise, and therefore, all solutions that reduce fuel consumption are highly attractive”, says Johansson. “The diesel engine in our hybrid solution can also be operated using biofuels, and consequently, transport activities can be conducted without carbon dioxide emissions.”

In conjunction, Volvo is also participating in the development of a new type of battery, Effpower. The purpose of the battery is to further enhance cost efficiency in electrical hybrids. Through this new technology, the power output has been doubled, while at the same time manufacturing costs for the batteries can be significantly reduced compared with alternatives on the market, explains the manufacturer.

The new hybrid truck is set to undergo a wide range of tests. The company predicts that hybrid trucks wearing the Volvo badge will be available on the market within a few years.

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