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Volvo Trucks portfolio could soon feature hybrid-powered models after the Swedish manufacturer announced improvements to its concept truck.
First unveiled back in 2016, the hybrid ‘Volvo Concept Truck’ now includes improvements to its aerodynamics, rolling resistance and reduced weight. The new version also features a hybrid powertrain - one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks in long haul applications, according to Volvo.
"We strive to be at the forefront of electromobility and to constantly push the limits when it comes to reducing fuel consumption and emissions,” said Claes Nilsson, CEO of Volvo Trucks. "Over the coming years, as society moves more and more towards renewable energy, we strongly believe that electromobility 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.”
According to Volvo, the hybrid powertrain works by recovering energy when driving downhill on slopes steeper than one per cent, 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.
In long haul transportation, Volvo Trucks estimated that the hybrid powertrain will allow the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30 per cent of the driving time. The company said it will save between 5-10 per cent in fuel, depending on the vehicle type or specification, and its drive cycle. In addition, it will also offer the ability to drive in full electric mode for up to 10 kilometres, enabling the vehicle to operate with zero emissions and low noise.