Volvo wants to develop a supertruck

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2011

Volvo Technology of America, Inc., is set to receive $19m (£11.5m) in federal funding under a SuperTruck contract established with the U.S. Department of Energy to be used by the Volvo Group’s North American truck-related operations in order to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and reduce greenhouse gases.

A team of highly skilled engineers and researchers in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as Hagerstown, Maryland, will spend the next five years developing high-efficiency heavy-duty truck technologies with a goal of moving more freight with less fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Improved energy conversion efficiency and truck aerodynamics are two areas that hold great promise for Class 8 efficiency gains. In order to achieve the SuperTruck program goals, Volvo will draw on extensive experience and established leadership as well as in energy efficiency and reducing heavy-duty truck and engine diesel use.

The company’s North American truck and powertrain operations have also been engaging in other DOE-funded heavy vehicle fuel efficiency efforts. Being an integrated manufacturer enhances the efficacy of product development and enables Volvo to optimize solutions throughout its product platforms.

In North America, the operations and the products of Volvo Trucks are guided by the three principal values of Environmental Care, Safety, and most of all, Quality. While its VN and VHD trucks are all assembled at its New River Valley Plant located in Dublin, Virginia, all the engines are manufactured at its plant in Hagerstown, Maryland. These two plants though carry the ISO14001 environmental certification, and even the ISO9001 certification for quality.

According to Volvo Powertrain president, and Volvo Group senior vice president of technology Peter Karlsten shared that the company is thankful for being recognized by the Department of Energy as the leader in global technology. The partnership between Powertrain and Volvo Trucks has made the development of these technologies possible, he added. These technologies have managed to maximize the energy efficiency as the company continues to address the fact that when it comes to petroleum-based resources, there is a finite supply.

Both Trucks and Powertrain, Karlsten continued, remain dedicated to getting the needed internal resources in order to lead the Class 8 market in fuel efficiency. The company, he continued, is now able to look into improving technologies aimed at fuel efficiency earlier than expected at its product development cycle. The company has even started looking into innovative technologies that would typically not be feasible economically, Karlsten said.

Volvo Trucks senior vice president of sales and marketing Ron Huibers on the other hand related that they are happy to be given the SuperTruck awards which encourages their strong relationship in relation to the U.S. Department of Energy. Freight transportation is not only important in the daily lives of people but in the strength as a country, he continued. It is therefore important to increase efforts in order to make the best, if not the most efficient, solutions possible for heavy-duty trucks, Huibers added.

As the company expands on its lead in technology, entering into this public-private partnership is but the first step, he said further. Volvo has long valued quality with safety plus environmental care, as mentioned earlier. In addition, its facility in New River Valley is where Volvo trucks are first assembled and then sold in the North American market. As a result of a determined energy program started in 2008, electricity consumption at the plant was lowered by 28%, water use reduced by as much as 70%, and consumption of natural gas decreased by 25%.

Operations at Volvo Powertrain and Volvo Trucks have the EPA 2010 solution which utilizes Diesel Particulate Filter and the Selective Catalytic Reduction technology. With these, Volvo is able to reduce both particulate matter, like soot, and nitrogen oxides to almost zero levels. This method also ensures that fuel efficiency is enhanced while greenhouse gas emissions are lowered. Improvements done for the SuperTruck in terms of fuel efficiency and transport will be made by partnering with suppliers and university partners.

Press Release

Volvo to Develop SuperTruck

Under a SuperTruck contract established with the U.S. Department of Energy, Volvo Technology of America, Inc. is scheduled to receive $19M in federal funding to be used by the Volvo Group’s North American truck-related operations to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and reduce greenhouse gases.

A team of highly skilled researchers and engineers in Greensboro, N.C. and Hagerstown, Md. will spend the next five years developing high-efficiency heavy-duty truck technologies aimed at moving more freight with less fuel, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Improved truck aerodynamics and energy conversion efficiency – maximizing the output potential of the energy source – are two areas that hold great promise for Class 8 efficiency gains. In achieving the SuperTruck program goals, Volvo will draw on established leadership and extensive experience in energy efficiency and reducing heavy-duty truck and engine diesel use. Volvo’s North American truck and powertrain operations have been participating in other DOE- funded heavy vehicle fuel efficiency efforts as well. Being an integrated manufacturer also improves the efficacy of product development and allows Volvo to optimize solutions across product platforms.

“We are delighted to receive this SuperTruck award that builds upon an already strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks senior vice president, sales and marketing. “Freight transportation plays a vital role in our daily lives and the strength of our nation, so it’s essential that we step up our efforts to create the best, most efficient heavy-duty truck solutions possible. This public-private partnership is an important step forward as we continue to expand our technology leadership.”

“We appreciate the Department of Energy’s recognition of Volvo as a global technology leader,” said Peter Karlsten, Volvo Powertrain president, and senior vice president of technology for the Volvo Group. “Our partnership will help drive the development of technologies needed to maximize energy efficiency as we address the reality of a finite supply of petroleum-based resources. Volvo Trucks and Powertrain have committed the internal resources necessary to become fuel efficiency leaders in the Class 8 market and now we’re able to explore some planned fuel efficiency improving technologies earlier in our product development cycle than normally scheduled – and also investigate advanced technologies that normally would not be economically feasible.”

Environmental care, along with quality and safety, are longstanding Volvo core values. All Volvo trucks sold in North America are assembled at the company’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia. Since 2008, an aggressive energy conservation effort at the plant has reduced electricity consumption by 28 percent, natural gas consumption by 35 percent and water use by almost 70 percent. The EPA 2010 solution developed by Volvo Trucks and Volvo’s powertrain operations uses Selective Catalytic Reduction technology and a Diesel Particulate Filter to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, or soot, to near-zero levels. The approach also significantly improves fuel efficiency, with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The transport and fuel efficiency improvements under SuperTruck will be developed in cooperation with university and supplier partners.

Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VN and VHD trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.

Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs more than 90,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. Volvo Group sales for 2010 amounted to $36.7 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.

Topics: volvo, truck

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