Volvo Trucks says it is now launching an upgrade of the world's first hybrid refuse truck. The upgraded vehicle is now being released with new components and software to be tested by Veolia Environmental Services in central London.

"Up to 30 per cent lower fuel consumption, low emissions and a low noise level make this hybrid a very attractive choice. That's why we're keen to test and develop the technology in partnership with Volvo Trucks, with whom we have developed a very strong working relationship," said Rob Stubbs, fleet director at Veolia, London and the UK's leading waste management provider.

The company has ordered the new refuse truck - a parallel hybrid.

The new truck is an upgraded version of the trucks field-tested in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden over the past eighteen months.

"The basic concept is the same, but all the components and software have been updated," explains Fredrik Bohlin, Business Manager - Hybrids at Volvo Trucks. "Development is extremely fast and the technology in our latest test vehicle is much closer to a production-ready solution."

The new refuse truck has electric power steering, completely new control systems and refined battery management strategies to optimise the battery performance. Loading and refuse compaction are completely electrically powered by means of a plug-in compactor that is charged via the mains electricity grid. The battery is also new, with improved reliability and a longer lifespan.

According to Fredrik Bohlin, small-scale series production of the hybrids will start in 2012 at the earliest, later than originally planned.

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