Hybrids must be viable says Volvo CE

By Chris Sleight17 April 2013

Volvo Construction Equipment president Pat Olney.

Volvo Construction Equipment president Pat Olney.

Volvo Construction Equipment says it is researching hybrid technology for its products, but is yet to bring a machine to market. Speaking at the Bauma exhibition, company president Pat Olney said any machine would have to provide a strong business case for its customers.

“Our focus is on fuel efficiency and viability for the customer. We continue to research hybrids and we have a lot of experience in the group through Volvo Bus,” said Mr Olney.

He added, “When we bring something to the market, we want to make sure it is viable for our customers. We think we have some good ideas, but we’re not ready to talk about them yet.”

The company exhibited a prototype hybrid wheeled loader at the 2008 ConExpo-Con/Agg exhibition, using an electric motor alongside a traditional diesel. However, it did not go on to put the machine into full production.

Since then Komatsu has launched a 20 tonne class hybrid excavator, and says it has sold more than 2,000 units since the machine’s launch five years ago. The company says, depending on the application, the excavator can cut fuel consumption by 25% or more.

Mr Olney said that Volvo’s broad focus on fuel efficiency meant that as well as hybrid technology, it was looking at ways to cut machine running costs by improving traditional technologies around diesel engines.

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