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Considerable media interest in Volvo Trucks’ alternative drivelines

Over a period of two weeks, more than 90 journalists from many parts of the world are visiting Volvo Trucks in Göteborg to test drive three of the company’s most environmentally optimised vehicles: the Volvo FM MethaneDiesel, Volvo FE Hybrid and Volvo FH DME.
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“We want to show the superb quality of these trucks. They are efficient vehicles that also bring us closer to a solution for sustainable transportation,” says Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director at Volvo Trucks.

Normal conditions
Sales of hybrid and methane-diesel trucks got under way this spring on selected markets, while bio-DME (dimethyl ether) is a next-generation fuel that is currently undergoing field tests. The journalists have the opportunity to test the trucks’ performance and driveability on roads that reflect the traffic situations experienced by customers in their daily operations. On http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHqfsJWXDHI there is a film from one such test drive.

The Volvo FE Hybrid, which is designed primarily for urban distribution and refuse collection operations, is therefore being test driven along a route characterised by frequent stops and starts.
¬“I’m very impressed. This is the first time I’ve driven a 20 tonne truck that ran totally silently for more than a kilometre. It’s really fascinating, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” says Fabian Schmid from Swiss magazine Strassentransport.

Gas-powered trucks for regional transports
Unlike the company’s electric hybrid, the Volvo FM MethaneDiesel and DME trucks are built for longer-distance regional operations, making them unique among gas-powered trucks. 

“From the driver’s viewpoint, I see no disadvantages with methane-diesel,” says Ralf Becker from German magazine Lastauto Omnibus as he puts the vehicle through its paces. “The truck is fully loaded, it weighs almost 40 tonnes, yet there’s no difference to driving a conventional diesel. It’s as comfortable as any other Volvo truck,” he continues.

Alternative drivelines crucial for the future
Despite the new environmentally optimised trucks’ excellent performance, a number of challenges still remain: the hybrid’s battery technology has further improvement potential, better distribution and more refuelling stations are essential for liquid methane gas, and it is necessary to implement large-scale production of bio-DME.

“It’s important, both for us as a company and for other actors throughout the world, to lobby on behalf of alternative fuels and to come up with more solutions that reduce the impact of transport on the climate. This is a crucial issue for an environmentally sustainable society,” relates Lars Mårtensson.

Facts: alternative drivelines

Volvo FM MethaneDiesel
▪ A gas-powered truck tailored for regional distribution and with potential for long-haul operations
▪ With biogas, it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 70 percent compared with a conventional diesel engine, or by up to 10 percent when running on natural gas.
▪ Launched in spring 2011, sales will start in Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, countries that have the best-developed infrastructure for liquid methane gas.

Volvo FE Hybrid
▪ A heavy hybrid truck for urban distribution and refuse operations.
▪ Cuts fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by between 15 and 20 percent, in the refuse sector by up to 30 percent if fitted with an electric refuse compactor.
▪ On the move, the battery is recharged every time the vehicle is braked.
▪ Launched in spring 2011 and will be sold in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg.

Volvo FH DME
▪ With bio-DME, carbon dioxide emissions are 95% lower than with diesel
▪ Bio-DME is produced from biomass, for instance from the by-products of the paper manufacturing industry.
▪ Field tests with ten modified Volvo FH trucks are currently under way.

Link to images: http://icp.llr.se/CumulusE_Z/VTC_ImageGallery/Login2.jsp?assets=T2011_1188;T2011_1189;T2011_1190;T2011_1191;T2011_1192;T2011_1193.tif


June 23, 2011

For further information, please contact:
Per Nilsson, Media Relations Europe, phone +46 31 323 3349, e-mail
per.nilsson.pr@volvo.com

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