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Volvo Trucks concept vehicle cuts fuel use by 30%

Volvo concept improves aerodynamic profile by 40% and deliver startling performance improvement

The Volvo Concept Truck is a modified FH 420, equipped with a D13 Euro 6 engine.
The Volvo Concept Truck is a modified FH 420, equipped with a D13 Euro 6 engine.

Volvo Trucks has delivered a new concept vehicle that can cut fuel consumption by more than 30% in long-haul operations with an aerodynamic design and lowered weight.

The low fuel consumption is largely the result of a massive 40% improvement in the vehicle’s aerodynamic profile, including aerodynamically optimised chassis side-skirts across the tractor and trailer.

“We’ve modified the entire rig to optimise it for improved aerodynamics. For instance, we used cameras instead of rear-view mirrors, cutting the air resistance, so that less energy is needed to propel the truck,” said Ake Othzen, chief project manager at Volvo Trucks.

Additional enhancements to the Volvo FH 420, which is equipped with a D13 Euro 6 engine, include an optimised air flow to the engine’s cooling system and minimised air resistance at the front of the tractor, the wheel housings and entry steps.

In addition to the aerodynamic improvements, the concept vehicle is fitted with newly developed tyres with lower rolling resistance. The trailer also weighs two tonnes less than the reference trailer, and the project also includes an improved driveline.

Work on the Volvo Concept Truck has been ongoing since 2011, and the ultimate aim to deliver an improvement in fuel efficiency of 50% for long-haul truck transportation.

The vehicle is the result of a five-year research project is part of a bilateral joint venture the Swedish Energy Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, which is running the similar American SuperTruck in North American markets.

Claes Nilsson, president and CEO Volvo Trucks, stated: “We continuously work on developing more energy-efficient vehicles, both out of environmental concern and to reduce our customers’ costs. Our concept truck showcases the immense power of on-going technical advances.”

As a research project, the vehicle will not be available on the market any time soon, but some of its aerodynamic features have already been implemented on Volvo Trucks’ series-produced vehicles, and more may be fitted in future.

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Construction Week - Issue 759
Feb 22, 2020