Volvo is very serious about launching a hybrid range of trucks as they celebrate premiere of the FE Hybrid in Europe.
Following a series of comprehensive field tests limited series production of approximately 100 hybrid trucks is now underway and deliveries are expected to commence in selected markets in Europe will occur from 2011 to 2013. The Volvo FE Hybrid will initially be delivered to 13 European countries, and sales may be extended to additional markets in the longer term.
The Volvo FE Hybrid is a parallel hybrid, which means that energy from the diesel engine and electric motor can be utilised either together or independently of one another. The system switches automatically between the two power sources. When the hybrid is driven in first gear, the vehicle is powered solely by its electric motor, giving the driver alert throttle response and thus excellent driveability. Then, when the hybrid mode kicks in, the diesel engine and the electric motor will work in parallel to optimise fuel savings.
The new quieter and cleaner hybrid trucks offer fuel savings of up to 30 per cent and will primarily be used in distribution and refuse operations in urban environments. The trucks will be manufactured in limited series production because the advanced hybrid technology requires customised production solutions. Battery technology is also constantly evolving. This means that the company’s after sales organisation must be trained in parallel to provide the right service to customers.
“Our new Volvo FE Hybrid is a fantastic high-tech truck, which has already created a large amount of interest. It’s clear that there is a great demand for heavy hybrids,” says Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks’ Europe Division.
“The fact that we are starting production of hybrids now is tremendously inspiring and important for future product development since some form of hybrid technology will exist in most trucks in the future. Hybridization is definitely an important piece of the puzzle for more fuel efficient transport,” says Claes Nilsson.