As the new Euro 6 Emission standards are just over the corner as they’ll be available from Jan 1, 2014, Volvo has struggle to go in front of the pack and revealed its new Euro 6 engine developed especially for trucks. The new D13 engine develops a maximum output of 413 hp between 1400 -1900 and will be available for order in spring 2013. The engine is standard with a Volvo I-Shift automated transmission.
Mats Franzén, manager of engine strategy and planning at Volvo Trucks declared: “By offering our most popular engine in Euro 6 configuration, we meet the needs of a large proportion of our customers. The rest of the Euro 6 engine range will be launched well before the requirements become obligatory.”
The new Euro 6 standards will cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 20% from current Euro 5 engine standards and cut particulate emissions 50%.
“We have developed a reliable solution that not only meets the emission requirements but also gives customers added benefits in the form of good fuel economy and trouble-free ownership,” added Franzén.
To achieve these efficiency standards, the in-line 6-cylinder D13 engine uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology in combination with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a diesel particulate filter.
Volvo was always at the front of the pack when it comes to safety features and efficiency and the company announced that it has developed a new system which uses the kinetic energy to increase efficiency with up to 5 percent.
The new feature is called the I-See and uses the transmission’s tilt sensor and the truck’s momentum to improve the efficiency. Basically the I-See acts as an autopilot which controls gear changes, throttle and brakes offering the best possible mix to return lower fuel consumption.
Anders Eriksson, product developer at Volvo Trucks declared: “If kinetic energy can be exploited to a greater extent, it may help cut fuel consumption. This will benefit both the environment and the industry’s economy, something that is very important today as fuel costs are becoming an increasingly heavy burden on many haulage firms.”
Mr. Anders Eriksson added, “If kinetic energy can be exploited to a greater extent, it may help cut fuel consumption. This will benefit both the environment and the industry’s economy, something that is very important today as fuel costs are becoming an increasingly heavy burden on many haulage firms.”
The system will prove handy especially when the truck needs to deal with undulating roads with steep slopes, as the system helps the truck to freewheel. In this way I-See also spares the life of service brakes and tires.
Mr. Eriskon explained: “It is this freewheeling capability that makes the system special. When the truck rolls freely, virtually no fuel is used. But in order to freewheel, a whole lot of data is required.”
Volvo’s FH truck has led a platoon test of vehicles on a public road in Barcelona, Spain as part of the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project.
This was the first ever test drive of a road train with both trucks and cars rolling on a public road. The test convoy was able to cover a distance of 200 kilometres (125 miles) in one day.
Andreas Ekfjorden, Project Manager for Volvo Trucks in the SARTRE project and test driver of the lead truck in Spain declared “The truck behaved exactly as expected, and the following vehicles responded just as planned. It was great to be a part of this landmark event.”
In the SARTRE project the trucks use radars and cameras to stay posted on the lead truck maneuvers. The official press release says that “by adding wireless communication, all the vehicles in the platoon ‘mimic’ the lead truck – accelerating, braking and turning in exactly the same way as the lead vehicle”.
The driver of the leading truck has a major role in the SARTRE project as he holds the responsibility for the entire platoon in order to permit the other drivers to relax and follow its lead.
The environmental impact of a road train is lower than that of today’s conventional traffic system, since the following vehicles are close behind the truck and each other and all of them can benefit of lower air drag.
“The focus on driver environment is at the very core of Volvo Trucks’ R&D work. Making the truck a safer workplace and supporting the driver is one of the most efficient ways for us to contribute to road safety. It is also part of our ultimate goal: zero accidents with Volvo Trucks. Our participation in the SARTRE project is a natural extension of that philosophy,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, Traffic & Product Safety Director, Volvo Trucks.
The SARTRE project was initiated in 2009 and until now, the vehicles in the project have covered a total of 10,000 kilometers.
More and more truck manufactures turn their head towards efficient technologies and recently Volvo decided to design its own 13 liter liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine. The engine will be designed especially for the North American market and according to the press release it will be launched on the market in 2014.
The LNG engine consumes less fuel than the current conventional natural gas powered engines. Moreover, the company is also planning to introduce a clean technology which will run on DME (dimethyl ether) a new fuel that can be produced from natural gas.
Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing declared: “Despite the near-term infrastructure questions regarding widespread adoption of natural gas as a heavy-duty truck fuel, it is clear this segment will grow over the next several years. We’re already delivering factory-built CNG-powered trucks and as the long-haul fueling infrastructure develops, the advanced technology in our new LNG engine will provide increased range and improved fuel efficiency in a seamlessly integrated Volvo powertrain.”
Recently, Volvo said that its Mean Green hybrid truck will attempt to break its own world speed record achieved in 2011. The company has announced that it had succeeded in its attempt and the new world speed record was achieved on April 27 at the Wendover Airfield.
Boije Ovebrink, Mean Green driver and owner said “We are very pleased with Mean Green’s performance, especially at such a high altitude. We knew Wendover would present challenges because it’s more than 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) above sea level. To compensate for the thinner air and help prevent overheating, we reduced the truck’s power by nearly 20 percent. Even with the reduction in total output potential, Mean Green had ample power to surpass the previous records.”
The previous world record was 218.780 km/h for the flying kilometer and 152.253 km/h in the standing kilometer. The new record speeds are 236.577 km/h for the Flying Kilometer and 153.252 km/h for the Standing Kilometer.
The Mean Green uses Volvo’s VN Day cab, but in order to achieve these performances the truck received a host of exterior modifications which were designed to keep the drag coefficient to as low as possible. Under the hood, the Volvo Mean Green is equipped with the D16 engine which is mated on a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.
Volvo said that “the combination of an electric motor and Volvo D16 diesel engine delivers 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft. torque – of which, 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft. of torque come from the electric motor”.
Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks president, North American Sales & Marketing said “Mean Green’s incredible performance underscores the strong potential of hybrid drivelines when applied to the right operation. Neither hybrid or any other alternative fuel technology, like natural gas, is a one-size-fits-all solution, but the technology is available for appropriate applications. While diesel remains the most efficient transportation fuel currently available, we know the future of petroleum is limited. The Volvo Group continues to test and evaluate the merits of a number of alternatives.”
After Volvo introduced its first ‘downspeeding’ concept with the XE13 powertrain package for the D13 engine, in September 2011, the company is launching two new XE efficiency packages for the 16-liter D16 engine which develops a maximum power of 500 hp with a peak torque of 780 Nm.
The first package was designed for the heavy long combination vehicle segment with GCWs (gross combination weights) of up to 143.000 pounds, while the second package is aimed at tractor semitrailer combinations with GCWs of up to 80.000 pounds.
Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks drivetrain product manager said, “XE16 directly addresses the needs of two important market segments that historically have had very few fuel-efficient powertrain options. The beauty of Volvo’s XE powertrain is that it delivers the full power and low-end torque needed for higher weight applications while saving fuel by running at a lower rpm.”
For an improved efficiency, the XE16 packages ‘downspeed’ the engine at cruising speeds by 200 rpm or more than traditional specs. The XE16 provides the full torque while running as low as 1,000 rpm to improve low-rpm drivability.
The packages are combined with company’s I-Shift automated gearbox, specialised axle ratios, specific tyre sizes and proprietary software that facilitates communication between Volvo’s integrated powertrain components.
The vocational truck market is highly competitive as the manufacturers try to continuously improve their models in order to keep the truckers satisfied. But apart from the engines, chassis and payloads which play a major role in the trucking industry, there is one thing that is more important than anything else. And that’s the vehicle’s reliability.
Volvo was always appreciated for two things, namely the safety and reliability of its vehicles. This is why the company continues to play a major role on the vocational market as its VHD model is one of the most appreciated and strong built trucks in its segment.
The truck is available in two versions including the VHD Standard and the VHD 430 which is available with both Day and Sleeper cab configurations.
Volvo ’s VN lineup was already pretty versatile, but the company has also introduced a natural gas-powered version of the truck at Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.
Compared to the diesel models, the new CNG version doesn’t have any exterior or interior modifications and shares the same features as its siblings.
The natural gas-powered trucks represent a very efficient option for fleet owners and truckers who want to lower the fuel costs and this technology has already started to be seen with very good eyes in the commercial vehicles segment.
Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing said, “The addition of the Volvo natural gas-powered VNL daycab is just the most recent example of our longstanding commitment to offering products that positively impact the ROI of our customers. Developing fuel-efficient technology, whether through natural gas, diesel or hybrid, is a priority for Volvo Trucks . We were the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to offer EPA 2010-certified engines with no credits, and we’ve continued that legacy by focusing our efforts on offering fleets solutions that reduce their fuel costs.”
At Mid-America Trucking Show Volvo presented the innovative ‘Mean Green’ which is the world’s fastest hybrid truck ever built. On April 27th will attempt to break it last year record and to reach a top speed of 260 km/h (165 mph) at Wendover Airfield in Utah, USA. Last year the Volvo Mean Green was driven by Boije Ovebrink and managed to set the world’s speed record in the standing 500 metre, standing kilometre and flying kilometre.
The Volvo Mean Green uses a modified aerodynamic VN cab and develops a massive 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft (6779 Nm) of torque – of which 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft (1200 Nm) of torque come from the electric motor.
“Technology and innovation are at the core of our business,” said Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “’Mean Green’ is a prime example of Volvo’s technical capabilities and our continued focus on emerging technologies. Our engineers developed the world’s fastest hybrid truck utilising the same Volvo hybrid drive system powering hundreds of Volvo buses throughout the world - including London’s double-decker buses.”
Volvo’s team of hybrid technology experts adapted Volvo’s hybrid driveline to the chassis requirements of a world-class truck built for speed. Engineers then outfitted ‘Mean Green’ with a highly-tuned Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.
“The result is a lightning-speed boost from start-off without any of the customary diesel-engine delay,” said Boije Ovebrink, ‘Mean Green’s owner and driver. “It’s like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with an explosive force.”
Two years ago, Volvo started a Bio-DME project which aims to assess whether there is a market for Bio-DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) for commercial vehicles. If this technology could be used for commercial vehicles and diesel fuel were to be replaced by Bio-DME, CO2 emissions would be able to be reduced by 95 percent.
Together with a number of partners including Bio-DME producer Chemrec and fuel distributor Preem, Volvo has developed a transport system that encompasses the entire chain from production and distribution of Bio-DME to operation in Volvo trucks in a number of haulage firms. Ten Volvo Bio-DME trucks have been used with success for over 100,000 kilometres and the results were promising.
"This is the first time Bio-DME is being used as a vehicle fuel on a large scale, and following the first evaluation of the field test we can see that the Bio-DME trucks function very well on the road, way exceeding our expectations. The technology is reliable and the entire process is characterised by energy-efficiency, from production and distribution all the way to the vehicles themselves," says Per Salomonsson, Project Manager Alternative Fuels at Volvo.
The biofuel is made from black liquor, a by-product of pulp production, at the Chemrec gasification plant in Pitea. The production system works smoothly and the possibility of delivering the fuel on a large scale depends to a considerable extent on the incentives available for renewable fuels.
"Bio-DME can also be made from other renewable raw materials, and we feel this is a vehicle fuel with a great future. We’ve developed technology that makes it possible to use the fuel in commercial operations. The biggest challenge in the future is to establish a market and an infrastructure for a new vehicle fuel, and this requires investment. Here society’s decision-makers play an important role in creating the essential preconditions by taking long-term decisions and developing incentives," says Per Salomonsson.
The field test will continue until the end of the year, followed by an evaluation to chart the viability of a future market for Bio-DME.