Volvo Trucks, with support from the Swedish Energy Agency, has developed a new fuel-sipping concept truck, the result of a 5 year long research project aimed at creating more energy-efficient vehicles.
Claes Nilsson, President and CEO Volvo Trucks, says energy-efficient trucks are a high-priority for the company, adding the Volvo Concept Truck – a Volvo FH 420 with D13 Euro 6 engine – cuts fuel consumption by more than 30 percent thanks to a 40 percent boost in both truck and trailer aerodynamic efficiency.
“We’ve modified the entire rig and optimized it for improved aerodynamics as much as possible,” says Åke Othzen, chief project manager for Volvo Trucks. “For instance, we use cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. This cuts air resistance, so less energy is needed to propel the truck.”
Aerodynamically optimized chassis side-skirts cover the rear wheels on the tractor and all the trailer wheels and spoilers extend the trailer, cutting air resistance. The company says it minimized air resistance at the front of the tractor, the wheel housings and entry steps while optimizing air flow for the engine’s cooling system.
In addition to the aerodynamic improvements, the concept truck is outfitted with newly developed lower rolling resistance tires. The trailer weighs two tons less than the reference trailer, which translates into either lower fuel consumption or the possibility of higher payload. The project also includes an improved driveline.
The rig was test driven on Swedish roads in fall 2015.
Work on the Volvo Concept Truck has been in progress since 2011 with a goal of improving the efficiency for long-haul truck transportation by 50 percent and some of its aerodynamic features have already been implemented on Volvo Trucks’ series-produced vehicles, and more of its solutions may be fitted in the future.