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Volvo Starts Hybrid-Electric Refuse Vehicle Project in Sweden

The basic I-SAM hybrid system. Click to enlarge.

The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded SEK 9.8 million (US$1.4 million) to AB Volvo to support the application of hybrid technology in heavy vehicles—specifically, two refuse collection trucks in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The goal of the project is to achieve fuel savings of up to 30%.

The hybrid system used in the refuse truck is a version of the I-SAM (Integrated Starter, Alternator, Motor) parallel hybrid system also applied in the Granite construction trucks developed for the US Air Force. The I-SAM system comprises a starter motor, drive motor and alternator fit between the clutch and the I-Shift automatic transmission. (Earlier post.)

The parallel hybrid I-SAM system supports regenerative braking; electric launch and assist; electrification of power steering, air compressor and airconditioning; idle avoidance; and potentially downsizing in some applications, according to Emile Charest of the Hybrid Vehicle Development group at Volvo Powertrain. Charest made his remarks at this week’s Clean Heavy Duty Vehicles Conference.

The project will be implemented in co-operation with two of Volvo’s major refuse collection customers. The vehicles are scheduled to be placed in operation in the beginning of 2008. Evaluation and testing will be carried out in cooperation with the customers during a three-year period.

During the entire project, Volvo will further develop and optimize the technology for future series production. Volvo will also install and test a new safety system for vehicles in city traffic on both trucks.



Finally comes a increase in efficiency from a forward thinking company who proves results in the real world and not just in the lab. Too bad Ford didn't get Volvo trucks with the car company. But Hey! they would probably have screwed that all up too just like they are "fordalizing" Volvo cars.

Why can't this idea be installed in cars right away? I believe I read that in major traffic an engine stop/start system could save 6% or better. That would certainly help with the oil problems.


still a mystery why Volvo Trucks is about the only one, who is above average active in Heavy Duty HEVs.... okay they strongly focus on the owner operator class 8 segment in the u.s. and this segment is less price senstive, able to buy more customized, often with more advanced technologies. Innovative, alternative PT technologies could be introduced there, still the total size of this segment remains small..... anybody??



It is a big question who can buy who. Volvo Trucks is huge and successful company, which could buy Ford, but they are wise not to do it. They bought US Mack Truck instead.

Em El:

Big trucks are universally powered by diesel engines optimized for efficiency, and ARE incredibly efficient already. In addition, diesel engine consumes very little fuel at idle, unlike gasoline one, and hybridization will not yield much. Hybrid components, especially battery, should be very big and hence expensive, so big trucks are probably the last to go hybrid from all other vehicles.

As for stop-and-go applications, like buses, refuse trucks, city delivery vehicles, etc., practically all big companies and dozens of small companies are actively developing and commercializing hybrid drivetrains. Clear leaders are GM and Mercedes. Just google “hybrid bus” “hybrid truck” or dig into GCC news notes and there is plenty of information about it.


agree, but until now, everybody is exploring the LD/MD segment. bus is a different story. therefore its highly interested that volvo is out in the open, promoting HD hybrid technologies. Nothing yet about a hybrid FL/FE/Midlum.......... only heavies....

Kit P

Lad, since I have an adaptive brain so my car does not need hybrid features. I see no reason to stop on the gas, just so I can stomp on the break. This has the additional benefits of reducing stress, avoiding accidents, and saving money at the gas station and repair shop.

However, having observed how garbage trucks and buses are driven; hybrids might be a very practical idea.

tom deplume

I read somewhere that 17% of all motor fuel is burned in vehicles that are not moving.

John Baldwin

Great idea. The Swedes already run refuse trucks on zero carbon bio-gas....by adding a hybrid, they can go 30% further on the same gas....great idea....

Stan Peterson

This is nothing but a "mild hybrid" system universally panned by the commentators here when GM offered it on vehicles including HD PUs and truck chasis two years ago.

Once again the ignorant cynical Greens, like foreign (ie non-american)technology like this Swedish copy-cat technology. They like it over the already-on-the market technology offered by GM, Ford, IH and several others. Once again stupidly and ignorantly criticisng American industry and capitalism. Don't you ever get tired of this repetitive, broken-record nonsense?

There are even much more advanced hybrids for the stop and go delivery/pickup marklet including the custom designed delivery vans for UPS that are being deployed today. Not some "concept vehicle" no where near production.

Blair Anderson

Big Rigs and other specialty vehicles do "work" most of the time. Real work. The 'work' or real return back into the community space in exchange for the inefficiencies is, by comparison to the footprint of many consumables and commodities including that 'sunday drive, there and back', a ski holiday or just about any other personal indulgence. I liken it to why we never ask about the footprint/carbon miles of our Ipod, plasma screen or our laptop. A 35tonne semi, stacked with ipods, screens and laptops adds very little carbon contingency per item. For vehicles working in the civic arena the 'social capital' pay off, especially in the built environment is in the design rethink; reducing particulate emmisions, urban noise and (probably) enhanced services and systems durability. The impetus for and subsequent downshift in fuel consumption is the economic bonus, the leverage for change.

To replace the global heavy vehicle fleet in a short period of time would, itself ask of the Earth a very heavy carbon hit. Inventory replacement incurs a liablity such that not a gram of carbon is saved until the 'update' payback occurs. Using biofuels in legacy vehicles is in the short term the most pragmatic (and precautionary) solution but more notably the benchmark against which replacement will have to occur.


Exactly they're unbeatable volvo community whereas their state-of the-art technology first come in..especially in producing trucks on zero carbon bio-gas..with their new innovations of volvo engine parts that make boost the engine sytem.


what is the mode of entry of hybrid vehicles in the philippines??

nour Snowbar

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