Volvo CE to offer hybrid engine technology by 2009
VOLVO Construction Equipment have announced plans to offer a range of new machines featuring diesel-electric hybrid engine technology within the next two years.
Introducing plans for the new products at last month’s Bauma exhibition in Munich, Volvo CE’s president and chief executive, Tony Helsham, said hybrid technology offered the prospect of lower emissions and fuel savings of up to 50%, and that integrated hybrid engines would also have the ability to operate on biofuels.
‘While different hybrid configurations, biofuels and energy-storage systems are still being investigated, the basic technology platform is already established,’ he said. ‘Prototype machines will be on test with customers next year, with limited serial production due to begin in 2009.’
The first machine to be launched using hybrid technology is likely to be a wheel loader, as the biggest fuel savings are expected to come from those machines where there are frequent starts and stops. This type of machine will see big fuel savings of up to 50%, but all construction machinery should benefit from the technology.
‘Many contractors are actively reviewing how they can reduce their dependency on oil. For a range of economic, political, environmental and health reasons, now is a good time to take hybrid technology seriously,’ said Mr Helsham. ‘At Volvo, we have a technology that has the realistic potential to popularize hybrid power systems for heavy vehicles.’
Mr Helsham also outlined the integration strategy for the company’s recent acquisitions, Chinese wheel loader manufacturer Shandong Lingong Construction Machinery Co., (Lingong) and the road-development division of Ingersoll Rand.
Regarding the Lingong investment, Mr Helsham said it offered the prospect of becoming a development centre for low-cost products for emerging markets as well as global sourcing opportunities – in addition to an established distribution network across China, where the company intends to become a major player. ‘These products will continue to be marketed under the Lingong name, and will not be branded Volvo,’ he said.
He added that the deal with Ingersoll Rand offered Volvo a market-leading position in road machinery, with premium products and large growth opportunities.