i-See satnav checks out the road ahead, balances diesel and electric power for optimal efficiency.

Gothenburg Sweden - This streamlined long-hauler is the second version of Volvo’s Concept Truck, lighter, more aerodynamic and with lower rolling resistance. More importantly, it’s also the first Volvo long-haul truck with a hybrid powertrain.

It combines the maker’s new 12.8 litre D13 Euro 6 Step C straight six turbodiesel with an electric motor and a new dual-clutch version of its automated I-Shift transmission, based on experience gained from building hybrid and pure electric buses.

I uses energy recovered from downslopes and braking to charge its batteries; that amperage is then used to power the truck on flat roads, allowing the diesel powerplant to be shut off for up to 30 percent of the time.

An upgraded version of Volvo’s i-See navigation system continually analyses the road for five kilometres ahead, taking into account topography, gradients, the required speed and even traffic conditions. It works out the most economical and efficient combination of diesel and electric power, and applies it automatically in real time.

Estimates of fuel savings vary from five to 10 percent, depending the route.

The latest D13 turbodiesel is rated for 338kW and a monumental 2800Nm. Volvo doesn’t quote power or battery capacity for the electric side of the equation; they must be substantial, however, because they’re capable of driving the rig, fully loaded at 26 tons, for up to 10km in pure electric mode while in urban areas .

Volvo sees the concept as a platform for developing a range of new technologies that focus on reducing weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, some of which have already been incorporated in current production.

IOL Motoring

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