This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 15, 2006

Volvo Unveils Hybrid Drives for Trucks and Buses

Photo of a bus marked Hybrid Electric Vehicle with a truck following in the background.

Volvo's hybrid electric bus will cut fuel use by a third. Volvo's hybrid truck follows behind the bus.
Credit: The Volvo Group

The Volvo Group introduced on March 10th a concept bus and truck powered by hybrid electric diesel drivetrains, which offer fuel savings of up to 35 percent. The Volvo Group is one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks and buses, sold through Mack, Renault Trucks, Volvo Trucks, and Volvo Buses. The Volvo hybrid technology features a single device that serves as a starter motor, drive motor, and generator. The motor can start and accelerate the heavy vehicles without assistance from the diesel engine. Volvo is also developing an advanced lead acid battery for use in the hybrid vehicles. See the Volvo press release.

When it begins selling hybrid trucks and buses, Volvo will face stiff competition from General Motors Corporation (GM), which already has 380 hybrid buses operating in 29 North American cities. In January, GM sold another 157 hybrid buses to a consortium of transit agencies in California, Nevada, and New Mexico. In February, the transit authority in Cleveland, Ohio, began testing a GM hybrid bus for a new bus rapid transit system. DaimlerChrysler is also in the market through its Orion brand hybrid buses, powered by a hybrid drive developed by BAE Systems. A recent study in New York City by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that the Orion VII hybrid bus achieved up to 45 percent better fuel economy than diesel buses running on the same routes. Meanwhile, Enova Systems, Inc.—another hybrid drive developer—has recently built prototypes of a hybrid school bus and a medium-duty truck and has supplied Ford Motor Company with hybrid components now being used in six hybrid transit buses. See the GM press releases on the hybrid bus sale and the test in Cleveland; the BAE Systems press release; and the Enova press releases on the school bus, truck, and transit buses.