Volvo said the new concept provided maximum savings for frequently braking vehicles such as city buses and construction site machinery.
The technology features an integrated starter and alternator motor (I-SAM) that works together with an automatic converted mechanical transmission, an electronic control unit, a conventional diesel engine and batteries charged from braking energy.
Volvo said as well as reducing fuel costs, the new system could cut maintenance costs for vehicles by reducing wear.
Volvo chief executive Leif Johansson said Volvo envisaged opportunities to accelerate development in commercially viable hybrid power systems for heavy vehicles.
He said there was growing interest in reducing fuel consumption, driven by uncertainty over price and availability as well as climate change issues.
“Accordingly, many customers are seriously reviewing how they can contribute to reduce the dependency on oil. We now have a technology that is interesting from a commercial viewpoint, which opens up a hybrid power system market for heavy vehicles,” Johansson said.
The electric motor and diesel engine of the new system operates the vehicle in tandem, which Volvo said gave the vehicle substantially more capacity compared with series hybrids.
“I-SAM provides 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,” the company said.
Volvo is also participating in the development of a new battery type called Effpower, which is based on lead-acid technology.
It said the technology could double the output of conventional batteries while reducing manufacturing costs.
“The hybrid power system is a long-term and highly interesting solution for efficient and environmentally-adapted transport activities. We are aware that oil prices for our customers will rise, and therefore, all solutions that reduce fuel consumption are highly attractive,” Johansson said.
“The diesel engine in our hybrid solution can also be operated using biofuels, and consequently, transport activities can be conducted without carbon dioxide emissions. This paves the way for interesting developments toward long-term sustainable transport solutions.”