Back in May, Volvo announced the Concept Truck, which was developed as part of the US Department of Energy’s SuperTruck project. The main goal of the project is to promote research and development in order improve transport efficiency for long-haul operations in North America.
Volvo has now announced an updated version of the Concept Truck that features a hybrid powertrain, which allows the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30 percent of driving time. This means that it will save somewhere between 5 and 10 percent in fuel.
Thanks to the hybrid powertrain system, energy can be recovered when the truck is driving downhill or braking. That energy is then stored in the vehicle’s batteries and used to power the truck in electric mode when it’s driving on flat roads. The energy recovered will add up to 6.2 miles (10 km) of range to the truck.
Additionally, the vehicle has an enhanced version of Volvo’s driver support system called I-See. It has been developed specially for the hybrid powertrain and uses GPS and digital mapping to analyze the upcoming topography. This information is then used to choose the most efficient use of the electric motor and engine.
Combined with previous improvements done to the truck, the fuel consumption, as well as CO2, have been reduced by around 30 percent. These improvements include using an aluminum chassis that helped reduce the weight of the truck by 3,200 lb (1,450 kg), added fairings that cover all the wheels except the front ones, which lowers drag and turbulence, and replacing side mirrors with cameras.
Keep in mind that this is still a concept vehicle, so there’s no word when or even if it will eventually be available.