The driving force

When it comes to energy efficiency in a truck, most people refer to the fuel-consumption and the engine capacity. Today, the diesel engine has become the dominating power source in heavy commercial vehicles, and at Volvo we have an immense faith in this engine as the driving force for tomorrow's trucks.

But that's only part of the picture. The most important factors affecting energy efficiency is after all - the driver. Because it is always the driver who determines how the truck is driven and treated, no matter how effective the engine is.

The role of the driver

A good driver drives economically and responsibly. This means low costs for fuel, service, repairs and insurance. The difference between a good and a poor driver may in fact have a decisive effect on the haulage firm's profitability. Because with a driver who doesn't drive considerately, every percentage cut in fuel consumption, achieved through costly engine development, can be quickly eaten up.

Engine development

The diesel engine shows superior efficiency due to combustion under high pressure and at high temperatures. The maximum efficiency rating - in other words how well it manages to convert the fuel's energy content into useful work - is about 45 percent, and there is potential for improving this still further.

To give you one example: compared to a truck that performed a corresponding haulage assignment back in 1980, the fuel consumption, using diesel engines, has decreased by about 30%. At the same time, emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates are down by around 80 percent.

Future focus

Within the years to come, there is ample scope for cutting emissions to levels that are as low as those from today's cleanest alternative fuel: natural gas. At Volvo Trucks we are therefore continuing our work to develop engines and vehicles that will be even more fuel-efficient.