|The Volvo FE Hybrid refuse truck.|
Volvo has launched two hybrid refuse trucks into trials in regular daily operations in Sweden with refuse collection firms Renova and Ragn-Sells. (Earlier post.) Although both trucks use a charge-sustaining hybrid system for motive power, one of the trucks is equipped with a second, grid-charged battery that powers the refuse compactor.
The hybrid system used in the refuse truck is a version of Volvo’s I-SAM (Integrated Starter, Alternator, Motor) parallel hybrid system. The I-SAM system comprises a starter motor, drive motor and alternator fit between the clutch and the I-Shift automatic transmission.
This test phase is the last stage in the evaluation of our hybrid solution ahead of production launch. Since we presented our first concept vehicle in 2006, we have seen considerably heightened market interest in this technology. What makes our solution unique is that it is sufficiently powerful to drive heavy vehicles and more cost-effective than all other current alternatives. It is these characteristics that determine whether a hybrid can be commercially viable. We will start producing hybrid trucks in 2009.—Staffan Jufors, president and CEO of the Volvo Truck Corporation
|The basic I-SAM hybrid system. Click to enlarge.|
The Volvo FE hybrid refuse trucks combine a 7-liter (320 hp / 238 kW) diesel with a 120 kW motor. The trucks use Lithium-ion battery packs.
The hybrid system supports all-electric drive for moving off from standstill and for acceleration up to 20 kph (12 mph). At higher speeds, the diesel engine is activated. When the truck stops, the diesel engine automatically switches off, avoiding unnecessary idling. The batteries are recharged via regenerative braking.
The hybrid refuse trucks are expected to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20% and thus cut carbon dioxide emissions by a corresponding amount. The truck with the extra battery pack for the refuse compactor is expected to produce reductions of up to 30%.
Although Volvo is initially targeting its hybrid technology for vehicles in urban operations, it aims to eventually offer hybrid trucks for long-haul and construction applications.
Hybrid technology will play a major role in the future as the climate issue and oil dependency come into ever-sharper focus. No matter which fuels dominate in the future, their supply will be limited. Technology that leads to lower fuel consumption will be of immense interest to our customers, irrespective of the type of haulage operation with which they work. For distribution trucks, fuel consumption may be able to be cut by 20 to 30 percent. In long-haul operations, the percentage reduction will not be as great but since these trucks cover long distances, the total fuel saving will nonetheless be considerable.—Mats Franzén, engine manager at Product Strategy and Planning at Volvo Trucks