Proving that hybrid technology has usefulness outside the lightweight Prius-type car that stops being useful the moment you want to use it for hauling anything bigger than a bag of groceries, Volvo has announced that they've started production on a new, hybrid line of heavy duty trucks and buses. It's truly a forward thinking concept that they're developing. The new trucks have the posibility to reduce gasoline consumption by 35% when used as designed, and can also run on biofuels for even more environmental benefit. Some of the ways the new Volvo concept, named I-SAM, will reduce fuel use include:
  • The vehicles accelerate under electric power, which supplements the diesel engine at higher speeds.
  • The diesel engine turns off automatically when the truck is stopped for deliveries, traffic lights, and the like.
  • Auxillary functions run on the electric motor instead of the diesel engine.
  • Because of the combined engine, a smaller diesel engine can be used.
Volvo's new concept takes a big step in both temporary reduction of dependence on fossil fuels and the quest for a long-term solution to the oil crisis. By reducing fuel costs, they're also stemming the raise in cost for goods and services. They plan on having their hybrid trucks on the road in 2009, and we'll hope the path to production goes smoothly for them. [Source: Green Car Congress]


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