Options Abound for Low-Emission Big Trucks

by | Mar 20, 2009

volvo-engine2Trucking companies increasingly are finding options to reduce their fuel costs and emission.

Eaton Corp. recently established a program to help diesel truck fleet owners in applying for the $156 million in grants for diesel hybrid trucks. The grants are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Companies can be reimbursed for as much as 25 percent of the cost of a new hybrid truck, under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), which is part of ARRA.

Companies can purchase multiple trucks for their fleets, but for each hybrid put into service, an existing diesel truck must be removed from service.

Eaton also is developing a plug-in hybrid utility truck, one that caught the attention of President Obama, according to a press release. Eaton is developing the vehicle, along with Electric Power Research Institute, for Southern California Edison.

President Obama caught a glimpse of the truck March 19 when he was visiting the Electric Vehicle Technical Center of Southern California Edison, which has a variety of advanced technology vehicles.

The plug-in hybrid truck is estimated to deliver 70 percent better fuel economy than a conventionally powered truck.

In other trucking news, Volvo Trucks’ new engines and transmissions provide up to three percent lower fuel consumption, 40 percent lower emissions of carbon dioxide and higher power outputs, according to a news release.

In January, Volvo launched the FH16, which puts out 700 hp. Now, with its FH and FM with 13- and 11-liter engines, respectively, Volvo claims to produce some of the market’s most fuel-efficient trucks. Also, Volvo is selling a new version of its  7-liter engine, which powers the Volvo FE and Volvo FL.

Along with the efficiency improvements, Volvo’s trucks have become more powerful, according to the release. The 13-liter engine has risen to 540 hp and torque peaks at 2600 Nm, an increase of 100 Nm. The Volvo D11 has up to 450 hp and 2150 Nm of torque. The D7 comes in configurations of up to 340 hp and 1300 Nm of torque.

To meet the new Euro 5 emission requirements, which take effect in October, Volvo trucks’ emissions of nitrogen oxides have dropped 40 percent. According to Volvo, its D13 and D11 are available in variations tailored for the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) norm, a voluntary framework of regulations with even lower emissions of soot and particulates. The goal of EEV is to allow local authorities to speed up the introduction of less environmentally impacting vehicles.

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