Introducing a heavy-duty hybrid for long-haul

With the Volvo Concept Truck, Volvo Trucks has developed its first hybrid vehicle designed for long haul applications. In combination with the vehicle’s other improvements, the total reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 is around 30 per cent.

The Volvo Concept Truck was first unveiled in May 2016, and has since been developed and enhanced even further. In addition to the improvements in aerodynamics, rolling resistance and reduced weight, the latest version also features a hybrid powertrain – one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks in long haul applications. 

In long haul transportation, it is estimated that the hybrid powertrain will allow the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30 per cent of the driving time. This will save between 5 and 10 per cent in fuel, depending on the vehicle type or specification, and its drive cycle. It also offers the ability to drive in full electric mode for up to 10 kilometres, enabling the vehicle to operate with zero emissions and low noise. 

“The Volvo Concept Truck is a platform for verifying several new technologies for increasing transport efficiency,” says Åke Othzén, Chief Project Manager, Volvo Trucks. “Some of these developments have already been introduced to our trucks, and some will be introduced in the near future.”

How it works

The hybrid powertrain works by recovering energy when driving downhill on slopes steeper than one per cent, or when braking. The recovered energy is stored in the vehicle’s batteries and used to power the truck in electric mode on flat roads or low gradients. 

An enhanced version of Volvo Trucks’ driver support system I-See, which has been developed specially for the hybrid powertrain, analyses the upcoming topography using information from GPS and the electronic map. 

Using an advanced algorithm, based on the road’s elevation and expected speed, the system calculates the most economical and efficient use of both the diesel engine and the electric motor, as well as the optimal times to use the recovered energy.