Volvo Group Announces Hybrid Heavy Vehicle Technology

Posted on March 10, 2006

The Volvo Group has introduced what it calls “an efficient hybrid solution for heavy vehicles.” The technology, targeted for use primarily in trucks and buses, or any use with frequent braking and accelerations, reportedly offers fuel savings of up to 35 percent. "We envisage opportunities to accelerate developments in commercially viable hybrids for heavy vehicles," said, Leif Johansson, president and CEO of Volvo. The company did not announce production, testing or pricing details.

Volvo said a key component of the hybrid system is the I-SAM; a combined starting motor, drive engine and generator. I-SAM reportedly works in concert with an automatic, converted mechanical transmission, which was developed within the Volvo Group, an electronic control unit, as well as a conventional diesel engine and batteries that are charged by braking energy.

Linking the electric motor and diesel engine in parallel, the two can work together to operate the vehicle, Volvo said, adding that I-SAM is expected to provide sufficient power resources to start and accelerate even heavy vehicles to an appropriate speed without assistance from the diesel engine. This also significantly reduces the noise level of the vehicle.

Another key element is the development of a new type of battery, Effpower, which is based on proven lead-acid technology used in starting batteries in current vehicles. Through this new technology, the power output has been doubled, while at the same time manufacturing costs for the batteries can be significantly reduced compared with alternatives on the market. With Effpower, the cost efficiency in electrical hybrids can be further enhanced.