Almost one-third lower fuel consumption. Volvo Trucks’ new concept vehicle shows how it is possible to drastically boost productivity in long-haul operations. Among the secrets behind these remarkable fuel savings are aerodynamic design and lower kerb weight.
With support from the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo Trucks has developed a new concept vehicle, the Volvo Concept Truck. It is the result of a five year long research project aimed at creating more energy-efficient vehicles. The new concept truck cuts fuel consumption by more than 30 %.
One of the key factors behind the low fuel consumption is the massive 40 % improvement in aerodynamic efficiency that has benefited both the tractor and trailer.
“We’ve modified the entire rig and optimised it for improved aerodynamics as much as possible. For instance, we use cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. This cuts air resistance, so less energy is needed to propel the truck,” explains Åke Othzen, Chief Project Manager at Volvo Trucks.
In addition to the aerodynamic improvements, the concept vehicle is fitted with newly developed tyres with lower rolling resistance. The trailer weighs two tonnes less than the reference trailer, which translates into either lower fuel consumption or the possibility of higher payload. The project also includes an improved driveline. The rig was test driven on Swedish roads in autumn 2015.
Work on the Volvo Concept Truck has been in progress since 2011. The aim is to improve the efficiency for long-haul truck transportation by 50 %
The aerodynamic improvements
- Optimised aerodynamic trailer and tractor.
- In order to reduce air resistance, the conventional rear-view mirrors have been replaced by cameras, which have the added advantage of offering better visibility and increased safety.
- Aerodynamically optimised chassis side-skirts cover the rear wheels on the tractor and all the trailer wheels.
- Aerodynamic spoilers extend the trailer and cut air resistance.
- Optimised air flow for the engine’s cooling system
- Minimised air resistance at the front of the tractor, the wheel housings and entry steps.