VOLVO Group Sustainability Report 2010

Hybrid Technology

‒ Continued progress in hybrid technology

Volvo Group is a leading player in hybrid technology for heavy-duty vehicles, with a unique solution that offers considerable fuel savings while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Hybrid technology is one of the most promising and competitive technologies for commercial vehicles. It saves fuel and reduces emissions, and can be run on renewable fuels.

Environmental and cost benefits

Volvo Group is well positioned with our unique solution for hybrid technology for heavy-duty vehicles. Hybrid technology is best suited to urban operations since the most appropriate vehicles for hybrid drivelines are those operating in continuous stop-go conditions, such as city buses and refuse or distribution trucks.

Because of its potential for saving fuel, hybrid technology means lower operating costs for customers while at the same time significantly reducing environmental impact.

We have tested various types of hybrid solutions since the 1980s and unveiled the first commercially viable hybrid solution for heavy-duty vehicles in March 2006. Our solution is based on a concept known as I-SAM (Integrated Starter Alternator Motor).

Hybrid solution with proven track record

The I-SAM concept involves an electric motor and a diesel engine working in parallel, whereby each of them can be used where they are most effective. This increases the capacity compared with series hybrids, while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption and improving driving characteristics. The market prospects for Volvo Group’s hybrid technology are favorable since it is based on a platform solution.

The solution can be used for different Volvo Group products and applications, thus reducing production costs and facilitating large-scale manufacturing. We have been demonstrating vehicles based on our hybrid solution, including:

  • city buses
  • refuse collection trucks and distribution trucks
  • wheel loaders

Tests have revealed fuel savings of 15-20 percent for distribution trucks and up to 35 percent for city buses.

Hybrid Technology

Serial production of hybrid trucks and buses

The Volvo 7700 Hybrid city bus had its world premiere in April 2009 following successful field tests of hybrid buses in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden and London, England.

Volvo Group commenced serial production of the Volvo 7700 Hybrid city bus and the Volvo B5L Hybrid double-decker in 2010. Significant fuel savings of up to 35 percent, combined with the technology being based on standard components makes this bus a commercially viable option compared with many other hybrid technologies. Approximately 180 hybrid city buses have been delivered to customers.

The technology functions equally well where there is greater distance between bus stops, not just in highly congested traffic situations. The diesel engine does not start until the bus reaches 15–20 km/hour, which ensures a quiet and exhaust-free environment at bus stops. In addition, passenger capacity has increased compared with the standard diesel bus.

Volvo Trucks continued field testing hybrid refuse trucks in Gothenburg, Lyon and New York. These hybrid trucks will be available for sale in 2011 when serial production will start.

Renault Maxity electric: a zero emission commercial vehicle

Renault Trucks has developed an electric commercial vehicle offering in partnership with PVI, which is based on the Renault Maxity. This vehicle offers two very distinctive advantages: no atmosphere-polluting and carbon dioxide emissions at all and no noise pollution. Renault Maxity Electric can therefore be operated at night and in restricted low-emission zones.

Hybrid Technology

Less noise emissions

Noise pollution is a growing problem in urban areas. Vehicles equipped with hybrid technology are almost noiseless when operating on the electric engine. There are different regulations around the world for noise emissions for the transport sector.

EU and South Korea have among the strictest noise level regulations: 80 decibels for heavy-duty vehicles. Other countries are gradually approaching the same level. Volvo Group products meet these regulations.

Hybrid Technology

Noise emission requirements for heavy-duty vehicles

Product Development