|The Volvo FE hybrid refuse truck. Click to enlarge.|
The Volvo Group plans to apply its I-SAM (Integrated Starter, Alternator Motor) hybrid solution (earlier post)—what it calls its fourth-generation hybrid solution—across its range of products in buses, trucks and construction equipment.
Volvo has been testing various types of hybrid solutions since the 1980s. Volvo Group unveiled what it considers a viable hybrid solution for heavy vehicles in March 2006 (earlier post) in the form of the I-SAM. The I-SAM is a parallel hybrid system comprising a starter motor, drive motor and alternator fit between the clutch and the I-Shift automatic transmission.
As a result of our volumes and resources, we have succeeded in developing a more standardized platform solution, which is a prerequisite for the hybrid technology’s ability to have a widespread commercial impact in the market for heavy vehicles.
This is what we call the fourth-generation hybrid technology. In a few years’ time, hybrid technology will no longer be a special solution but a technology found in most new city buses and distribution trucks. The fourth-generation hybrid technology has the potential to make such a development possible. Volvo believes that the prospects are favorable for developing hybrid technology for all heavy vehicle segments, everything from buses and construction equipment to trucks for distribution and long-haul traffic.—Leif Johansson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Group
The I-SAM consists of three main components:
- Permanent Magnet (PM) unit including power converter;
- Energy storage system; and
- Powertrain Management Unit (PMU)
The PMU has a high diameter to length ratio and is placed between the clutch and the transmission. The PMU contains the key logic on gear shifting strategies and power split between diesel engine and electric machine. The high power and torque output from the PMU allows for downsizing of the diesel engine.
The Volvo Group is taking an active role in the development of efficient new batteries for energy storage, including involvement with Effpower, a bi-polar lead acid technology company.
Volvo says that the commercial prospects for its hybrid technology are favorable because the system is based on a platform solution containing a large number of standard components. The solutions that have existed in the market to date, and that the Volvo Group itself has been offering, have been based on a large proportion of special components. This has impeded volume manufacturing and led to the vehicles becoming much more expensive than the equivalent standard vehicles.
Another advantage of an adaptable platform solution is the ability to use it across a variety of different products and applications, further increasing the volumes and reduces production costs.
At the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Germany (25 September - 2 October), Volvo will introduce a new hybrid bus, Volvo 7700 Hybrid, and display other of its hybrid solutions, including the heavy hybrid refuse truck, the Volvo FE Hybrid. The truck, which was premiered in April this year, is one of two hybrid refuse trucks tested in operation in Sweden by the Renova and RagnSells refuse collection companies. (Earlier post.)
Use of these trucks can result in fuel savings of up to 20% and a corresponding decrease in carbon-dioxide emissions. In addition, the hybrid refuse truck is exhaust-free and silent during electrical powering, a factor that is important for refuse collection vehicles, which often work in densely built-up areas early in the morning.
Production of Volvo’s new hybrid bus, the Volvo 7700 Hybrid, is scheduled to start in 2009. This hybrid technology provides fuel savings of up to 30%. Volvo Buses will also be carrying out field trials with six hybrid-powered double-decker buses in London.
At the Conexpo trade show in Las Vegas in March this year, Volvo Construction Equipment introduced its hybrid wheeled loader, the first of its kind in the world. (Earlier post.) The L220F Hybrid offers more power, better performance and a 10% reduction in fuel consumption, according to Volvo. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2010, with some production expected during 2009.