An upgraded version of Volvo's I-See system lets the navigation system manage the powertrain to save fuel and even shut off the engine when cruising.

Big rigs could be a lot cleaner in the near future if Volvo Trucks’ hybrid semi concept eventually goes into production. By combining the firm’s existing model D13 12.8-liter diesel inline six with electric assistance, the brand estimates the powertrain can cut combined fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by around 30 percent.

The hybrid setup harvest energy for the batteries when driving downhill and under braking. The company’s I-See powertrain management system then uses navigation data to plan out what combination of internal combustion and electric power would most efficient over the next 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) of the route.

The Volvo Concept Truck can also drive up to 6.2 miles (10 km) purely on electric power. The energy regeneration also lets the engine shut off for up to a third of the time while the big rig is cruising, and the company estimates this ability alone can cut fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent.

Volvo Concept Truck Hybrid

Volvo first showed the Concept Truck in May 2016. However, the hybrid drivetrain is new for its latest evolution. In addition to the cutting-edge system, the company’s engineers also took the opportunity to update the experimental model’s aerodynamics and rolling resistance.

"Some of these developments have already been introduced to our trucks, and some will be introduced in the near future. The hybrid powertrain is partly based on knowledge and experience from Volvo Buses' hybrid and electric buses,” Åke Othzén, Chief Project Manager from Volvo Trucks, said in the concept’s press release.

The Volvo Concept Truck is among a wave of vehicles aiming to clean up big rigs. For example, Mercedes-Benz aims for the Urban eTruck concept to have a similar revolution for heavy-duty hauling. The full EV can go just 124 miles (200 km) charge, though, so its uses seem more limited than this Volvo. In addition, the startup Nikola Motor Company claims that its One hydrogen fuel cell semi can produce 1,000 horsepower (746 kilowatts) and can allegedly travel up to 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometers) on a charge. Sometime soon, we might see Tesla's entry in the green 18-wheeler segment, too.

Source: Volvo Trucks

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