Volvo Group unveils new hybrid technology

Published March, 28 2006

The Volvo Group has unveiled its I-SAM hybrid technology for heavy vehicles.

Volvo’s I-SAM consists of a starter motor, drive motor and alternator, along with an electronic control unit. I-SAM interacts with Volvo’s I-Shift automatic gearshifting system. The batteries are recharged by the diesel engine and whenever the brakes are applied.

The electric motor offers smooth performance at low speeds and supplements the diesel engine’s performance as speed increases, Volvo said. This allows the truck to accelerate via electric power alone and promotes lower fuel consumption, emissions and noise levels.

“The hybrid is a long-term and highly interesting solution for efficient and environmentally-adapted transport activities,” said Leif Johansson, president and CEO of Volvo. “We are aware that oil prices for our customers will rise, and therefore, all solutions that reduce fuel consumption are highly attractive.”

Volvo’s hybrid technology can deliver savings as much as 35 percent on routes with frequent braking and accelerations, the company said. Vehicle maintenance costs can also be reduced through reduced wear on the braking system.

“Thanks to the electric motor’s capacity, the diesel engine can be automatically switched off when the truck stops to make deliveries, pick up loads or pauses at traffic lights,” said Lars Martensson, Volvo Trucks environmental affairs manager.

In the hybrid, auxiliary functions such as the servo pump and AC compressor are driven electrically, instead of by the diesel engine.

Because of the interaction between the two power sources, the vehicle can be fitted with a smaller diesel engine without compromising performance. This further reduces consumer cost and emissions, the company 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,” Johansson said.

The Volvo hybrid truck is set for a wide range of tests, but the company predicts it will be on the market in a few years.