Click above for a gallery of the Volvo FE hybrid truck
Four large hybrid trucks based on Volvo's heavy-duty FE model will be delivered to refuse company Veolia Propreté for use in London and Paris next year. These pre-production diesel-electric hybrids will go into service next fall and deliver fuel consumption reductions of about 15-20 percent. Both the seven liter diesel engine and the lithium ion-powered 120 kW electric propulsion motor can run the truck on their own, with the electric motor doing most of its work when the truck is idling. A plug-in battery pack for ancillary devices is also available and drops fuel use by another 10-15 percent. If your trash is picked up by one of these behemoths, though, the biggest benefit will probably be the quieter operation. Sleeping better while others use less fuel is what we call a win-win.
VOLVO'S HYBRIDS FOR ENGLAND AND FRANCE
Volvo Trucks are set to deliver four hybrid powered refuse trucks to Veolia Propreté, one of the world's largest refuse handling companies, and next autumn they will start work in London and Paris.
"It is particularly gratifying that Veolia Propreté, an international company renowned for its dedication to green development, wants to be among the very first to harness the benefits of hybrid technology," says Claes Nilsson, President of the Europe division at Volvo Trucks.
Low emissions, low noise levels
The four hybrid refuse trucks are all based on Volvo Trucks' heavy-duty FE model. What differentiates these vehicles from regular refuse trucks is their driveline. The hybrid trucks have both a diesel engine and an electric motor and each power source can be used separately or in combination with the other. Since the electric motor is used when the vehicle is idling and for acceleration, fuel consumption can be cut by 15-20 per cent. With the addition of an extra battery featuring a plug-in recharging facility to power the ancillaries, the hybrid refuse trucks can cut a further 10-15 per cent off their fuel consumption figures, giving a total fuel reduction of up to 30 per cent. Emissions of climate-impacting carbon dioxide are also significantly lower. Electric power gives exhaust-free and almost totally silent operation, a major benefit for refuse trucks that often operate in dense urban areas early in the morning.
Since April 2008, several field tests have been taking place involving Volvo Trucks' hybrid refuse trucks and the technology is fast approaching the commercialisation phase with series production due to start at the end of 2009. What is already perfectly clear, however, is that there is considerable interest in the market.
The four refuse trucks are pre-production vehicles that will be delivered by Volvo Trucks complete with all necessary bodywork. The vehicles will be leased by Veolia Propreté on a 24-month contract that covers service, maintenance and continuous software upgrades, among other things.
"We will carefully monitor how the trucks are used and how they are perceived by the drivers. This will provide us with vital information for the ongoing development of our hybrid vehicles," adds Claes Nilsson.