Truck makers take the hybrid path

Truck emissions are bound to be one of the top talking points at the CV Show.  The SCR versus EGR debate shows no sign of running out of steam, and the government has announced it is reviving its Reduced Pollution Certificate scheme. News is expected soon after the CV Show on exactly how the London Low Emission Zone will operate and the proposed charges. Several of the truck manufacturers have low-emission Euro 5 models on show and there are also hybrid vehicles to see which have zero emissions when operating in electric mode.


Daf's LF45 hybrid truck uses a parallel diesel electric-drive system, meaning that it can be driven by the diesel engine, the electric engine or a combination of both. The company says development in battery technology has made hybrid electric technology more feasible. The prototype LF Hybrid Truck has the Paccar FR 4.5 litre Euro 4 diesel engine, rated at 185hp (135kW), and an automated six-speed Eaton Autoshift gearbox. A 44kW electric engine is installed between the clutch and the gearbox which can provide drive as well as functioning as a generator.

Energy released during braking is stored in the lithium-ion batteries for re-use during acceleration. Depending on the fill ratio of the lithium-ion batteries, a central computer determines when the diesel engine provides the drive and when, and to what extent, the electric engine is used. Daf points out that the extra 44kW provided by the electric engine means a smaller diesel engine will provide sufficient power for city distribution work. The 150 - 200kg weight saving compensates to a large extent the extra weight that hybrid technology brings with it (200 - 250kg). The lithium-ion battery pack on the LF weighs 100kg and produces enough charge to move the vehicle 2km in zero-emission mode using electric power only. Field testing of the truck is expected to start later this year.

A CF 6x2 rigid on show has a lifting trailing axle with single tyres. By increasing the tyre size from 295/80 to 315/80 Daf has been able to increase the gross weight from 25.1 to 26 tonnes. It is lighter than the CF75 6x2 twinned-wheel model and the rear-steer. Daf marketing director Tony Pain thinks the truck's better payload might give it appeal as an alternative to an18-tonner for some operations. The sleeper-cabbed show model has the 360 hp version of the 9.2-litre PR engine and 12-speed ZF AS Tronic automated gearbox. There's also a lightweight CF85 6x2 tractor developed with 44-tonne tanker operations in mind. The lightweight mid-lift axle on 17.5in wheels saves 500kg.


Tests with Volvo's hybrid diesel electric D7 engine have shown fuel savings of up to 35%, says the company, especially on stop-start operations, because the system can harness braking energy to recharge the power cells. More conventionally, there will be a 540hp FH16 Globetrotter 4x2 tractor unit and models from the new FL and FE ranges for the 12 to 18-tonne sector. The FH16 Globetrotter is in special livery to celebrate Volvo's 80th anniversary. The Prestige trim includes full leather upholstery, heated and vented seats and climate control. The D16 540 engine has a huge torque output of 2,600Nm while the latest generation Volvo Engine Brake produces 425kW of retardation.


Mercedes-Benz is hoping its new lightweight Euro 4 Axor eight-wheeler developed specifically for the UK and Irish markets will boost its current fourth position in the 8x4 sector. At 9,150kg, the kerb weight of the new Axor 8x4 is about 50kg less than the Euro 3 model it replaces. Although the SCR technology and AdBlue tank adds about 150kg, this is cancelled out by a similar weight saving from the new lightweight drive-axle bogie and an eight-speed gearbox which replaces the 16-speed unit on the old model.


Pre-bodied chassis are part of a Total Transport Solutions package from Scania, which also includes mobile servicing of refrigeration equipment and tail-lifts. "We will be providing everything from fully built-up rigid trucks to ancillary equipment maintenance and accident repair management services," explains Tim Pugh, business development director.  The first bodies will be a box body and a curtainsider for the distribution sector. Both will be available in 4x2 and 6x2 wheelbases for 18- and 26-tonnes GVW respectively. The vehicle on the stand is a P230 DB4x2MNA with G670 six-speed gearbox and CP16 day cab. It has a 7.925m box body and 1.5-tonne tuck-away tail-lift. Later in the year there will be a 32-tonne gvw 8x4 hookloader with Multilift bodywork.


Fittingly, now that the company is sponsoring the All Blacks rugby team, Iveco is showing its new Stralis cab in a striking black livery. The Super Cube cab has 20% more interior space, additional storage and new trim. The specification includes climate control air-conditioning, leather seats, and factory-fitted satellite navigation. The flagship AS440 6x2 tractor unit is powered by a Euro 5 12.8 litre Cursor 13 engine producing up to 560hp driving through a 12-speed automated EuroTronic gearbox, with overdrive top gear. The Stralis AT440 4x2 tractor has a twin-bunked high roof cab and is powered by the 420hp Euro 5 10.3 litre Cursor 10 engine.


Isuzu has transported a Japanese specification 12-tonne truck to the UK especially for the show. "It is no secret that within the next 12 to 15 months Isuzu Truck (UK) will be expanding its current vehicle range," says Keith Child, marketing director, Isuzu Truck (UK). "During the early part of 2008 Isuzu UK will be offering 10- and 12-tonne models and by mid 2008, 15- and 18-tonners," he adds. Isuzu is also showing several 7.5 tonne 4x2 rigid in customer liveries, with EGR Euro 4 engines. They come with either manual or Easyshift six-speed gearboxes.