Volvo Trucks has announced it is now commencing sales of heavy hybrid trucks, under the name Volvo FE Hybrid, to customers in selected European markets.

Volvo says that the hybrid trucks permit fuel savings of up to 30% and will be used primarily in distribution and refuse operations in an urban environment.

The application of hybrid technology is best suited to densely populated areas, which involve the highest incidence of vehicle starts and stops. Volvo FE Hybrid is referred to as a parallel hybrid, which is a technology entailing that energy from the diesel engine and electric motor is used either simultaneously or independently of each other. The technology switches automatically between the two power sources. Volvo’s hybrid technology has also been developed to maximize recycling of energy generated from braking. No extra charging from external sources is required. Electric power also cuts noise levels, Volvo maintains.
Depending on the driving cycle, the Volvo FE Hybrid can cut fuel and carbon dioxide emissions by between 15 and 20%. In addition, using the electric compactor on the hybrid refuse trucks, up to 30% can be saved.

“Our ability to initiate hybrid production is tremendously inspiring and important for our continuing product development, since some form of hybrid technology will be used for most trucks in the future. Hybrid operation is definitely a key piece in the puzzle when endeavoring to achieve energy-efficient transport,” says Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks Europe Division.

The trucks will initially be produced in a limited series of about 100 vehicles, starting in June. These trucks will be delivered during the period 2011 to 2013 to customers in selected European markets.

For many years, the Volvo Group has invested in the development of hybrid vehicles and Volvo Buses launched serial production of hybrid buses at its plant in Poland in 2010.

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By GlobalData