Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks (Sweden) was in Kuala Lumpur recently to attend the SPAD conference in KLCC on Environment impact with the public transport.
This was Lars Mårtensson’s first visit to Malaysia and he was ready to meet some environmental issues, however he was quite surprised with the quality of air in the city. We met with him to get a deeper look at what Volvo Trucks had in their planning for better logistics around the globe.
QUESTION: Volvo is working on truck platooning extensively. We want to know if issues with insurance and possible liability in an accident is being worked on?
Reply: The primary concern is not yet on liability….as most countries in the world are not allowing truck platooning for now …so Volvo Trucks is working first to get this accepted country by country and then we are looking for the business model to make it attractive……which is on how will it work with different trucks (various brands) joining the platoon on the move. When the first driver, the one leading the platoon is driving, the second and third driver at the rear of the platoon will get the benefits of platooning……so, who wins and who gains from this whilst the lead driver/truck gets no benefit. We will look later into insurance and liabilities of the drivers and trucks in a platoon. The technology of platooning also need to move forward….for instance the logistic industry in Singapore where even with shorter highways platooning helps in moving cargo and buses in an economical way.
QUESTION: Is Volvo Trucks working to make trucks making lighter to save fuel, like what car manufacturers are doing, taking Audi as an example.
Answer: Actually, we have been using lightweight materials for some years now and we have been making the trucks lighter as much as possible. Looking at the material content of a Volvo truck today I can say that we are moving with a lighter truck today as compared to 10 years ago. We however have not gone to full aluminium due to cost considerations as it and with a truck we need low weight, yes, but we also need it to be strong enough which is why we are testing with light materials.
QUESTION: Is Volvo Trucks working on diesel engine re-engineering, just like how some car manufacturers are doing now, example, Mazda with SKYACTIV diesel engines.
Answer: With diesel engine development, we have moved ahead in many ways. We have already lowered engine weight and we have reduced emissions. The engine size remains as we need the power to pull the tractor and fully laden trailers. The future of diesel engines is moving ahead with many possible solutions but we are still working on a better diesel technology and we are not at the end or even near the end. Our engineers at Volvo Trucks are looking at at how to use the best from petrol engines with the best from diesel engines and of course in combination with electric engines (hybrids).
QUESTION: Volvo has medium duty hybrid trucks…16-22 tonnes and parallel hybrid trucks for a few years already. What is the next step?
Answer: We learned a lot from our hybrid trucks and at the same time cities are now moving towards zero emission vehicles. The logical next step to usis to move towards pure electric trucks as battery development moves ahead and this will be the solution for daily city use.
QUESTION: Truck aerodynamics seems to have reached a glass ceiling? Yes?
Answer: We have recently presented The Volvo Concept Truck. It shows a new design and a potential to improve aerodynamics by at least 10%. The air drag coefficient is actually on the same level as some sport cars.There is still an improvement potential – especially for the complete vehicle.
QUESTION: Legislation in Europe with cars….is it the same with trucks?
Answer: No it is not but by 2018 Europe will have a Co2 legislation and we (where all truck manufacturers will have to declare fuel figures and Co2 figures).