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Volvo Trucks, a separate entity to Volvo Cars, has rolled out a truck concept that could lead to much lower costs for the delivery of goods.
The Swedish firm’s concept is said to use 30 percent less fuel than a comparable truck currently in operation thanks to its aerodynamic design and lower curb weight.
The concept is based on Volvo’s FH 420 truck that uses a turbocharged 12.9-liter inline-6 diesel engine.
Goal is to get consumption down by 50 percent
Some of the solutions to improve aerodynamics include replacing the side mirrors with rear-facing cameras, covering up the wheels and adding a more streamlined section at the rear. Combined, these modifications help improve aerodynamic efficiency by as much as 40 percent. In addition, the trailer is also about 2.2 tons lighter than a regular design and the wheels are fitted with low rolling resistance tires.
Work on the concept truck is far from complete, though already some of its aerodynamic features are being implemented on trucks currently in production. Volvo Trucks says its goal for the concept is to get overall fuel consumption down by as much as 50 percent compared to its current big rigs.
The extra boost in efficiency could be brought about by hybrid technology as well as some form of autonomous driving technology such as “platooning” when on highways. This is where several trucks travel in a chain with only about 20 feet separating them, creating a slipstream effect. Electronic signals from a lead vehicle are constantly sent to each of the trucks in the chain so that a safe gap is maintained at all times, even during emergency braking. Another leader in the field of autonomous trucks is Daimler, which is already testing self-driving trucks on public roads.