Volvo Tests New Hybrid Refuse Truck in London
Volvo Trucks recently launched an upgrade of the world’s first hybrid refuse truck. After a year and a half of initial field testing with excellent results, an upgraded truck is now being released with new components and software. The new refuse truck will be tested by Veolia Environmental Services in central London.
“Up to 30% 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,” comments Rob Stubbs, fleet director at Veolia, London and the UK’s leading waste management provider. The company has ordered the new refuse truck.
Same concept, new components
“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 optimize the battery performance. Loading and refuse compaction are completely electrically powered by means of a plug-in compactor that is charged via the main electricity grid. The battery is also new, with improved reliability and a longer lifespan.
According to Fredrik Bohlin, a small-scale series production of the hybrids will start in 2012 at the earliest, which is somewhat later than the original plan. The delay is related to the global financial crisis that has affected both Volvo’s product development and customers’ investment capacity.
Experience leads to optimized solutions
“For example, if you want to minimize fuel consumption, you can maximize the use of the electrical power unit. However, this reduces battery life. So to achieve an optimal solution, many different properties must be weighed against each other,” explains Fredrik Bohlin. “It’s all about satisfying high demands for performance, lifespan, fuel consumption and operability.”
Fuel consumption reduced even further
“The hybrid has met our expectations and our drivers are highly satisfied,” says Lars Thulin, vehicle development manager at Renova. “The electrical power system provides high torque from start-up, low noise level and emission-free loading and refuse compaction. In terms of fuel consumption and climate impact, our measured results are even better than expected. We’ve achieved reductions of a staggering 35%. On a annual basis, the hybrid saves us 5250 l of fuel compared to a traditional diesel engine... and we only drive single shifts.”
The refuse truck now being delivered to Veolia is not the first Volvo hybrid in London. Six Volvo hybrid buses have been operating on the streets of London since summer 2009.
“This means we already have a very skilled and motivated local service organization with the specific technical expertise required to service our hybrid vehicles,” says Fredrik Bohlin.
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