Volvo Hybrid Refuse Collection Vehicles Gaining Momentum

Around half of the FE Hybrid trucks delivered by Volvo to customers throughout Europe since its launch have been refuse collection vehicles.

Around half of the 50 of its FE Hybrid trucks delivered by Volvo to customers throughout Europe since its launch have been refuse collection vehicles.

The company explained that there has been an even split between refuse collection and distribution operations for its hybrid thus far, as these are the two areas where the technology offers the greatest fuel savings - 15% to  20%, depending on chassis and driving cycles.

Volvo went on to claim that some refuse truck operators with trucks featuring a rechargeable electrified waste compactor have even been able to cut their fuel consumption by 30%.
One customer, Dutch recycling company Roteb, purchased two Volvo FE Hybrids in order to meet both its own, and the City's environmental policies.

"They're reliable, offer really good visibility and great driveability. What's more, they're very quiet," commented Ton van der Horst, one of Roteb's refuse truck drivers.

Costs and benefits

According to Rene Herlaar, sales director at Roteb the hybrid trucks function exactly like the company's diesel powered refuse collection vehicles, but consume around 30% less fuel and are far quieter than diesels.

"Volvo'sWe would definitely consider buying additional hybrids if the price and the political decisions make it possible," he added.

Christina Eriksson, business manager for alternative drivelines at Volvo explained that the cost of hybrid technology is forcing the price so high that it is difficult for the customer to achieve economic gain in the short-term.

"However, having said that, it definitely promotes goodwill. If a company buys a hybrid truck, it shows that the environment is a high priority and they can reap many advantages from that," she said.

Eriksson added that the company's aim over the next couple of years or so is to reach a more commercially viable level on costs, so that the customer can achieve good profitability right from the start.

Volvo Trucks' environmental director Lars Mårtensson noted that the EU's forthcoming legislation, encompassing the ability to measure and compare the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of heavy trucks, will boost hybrids.

"That will massively increase interest in really economical trucks. Today electric hybrids are definitely the best and most reliable alternative," he said.


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