The Volvo Group last week introduced its fourth-generation hybrid solution on a broad front in buses, trucks and construction equipment.
“Our hybrid solution for heavy vehicles is completely different from anything that has existed in the market to date,” said Leif Johansson, president and CEO of Volvo Group. “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."
Volvo has been testing various types of hybrid solutions since the 1980s and Volvo Group unveiled the first commercially viable hybrid solution for heavy vehicles in March 2006. Volvo’s solution is based on a concept known as I-SAM (Integrated Starter, Alternator Motor). This solution entails that an electric motor and a diesel engine work in parallel, whereby each of them can be used in the areas where they are most effective. This increases the capacity compared with series hybrids, while reducing fuel consumption and improving driving characteristics – simultaneously.
“This is what we call the fourth-generation hybrid technology,” Johansson said. “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.”
The favorable commercial prospects for the Volvo Group’s hybrid technology derive from the fact that it 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 generated from an adaptable platform solution, such as the one that the Volvo Group has access to, is that it can be used for a variety of different products and applications, which further increases the volumes and reduces production costs.
“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,” Johansson added.
Volvo Construction Equipment introduced its first hybrid wheel loader at ConExpo in March. Deliveries of hybrid wheeled loaders, the L220F model, are scheduled to begin in 2010, with some production expected during 2009.