With funding from the California Energy Commission, Volvo Construction Equipment has demonstrated a hybrid wheel loader, a piece of equipment widely used in the construction industry, that achieved a 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
In contrast to a standard wheel loader which uses a 13 liter engine, comparable to one used to power a big rig truck, the Volvo CE prototype was powered by a combination of a much smaller 3 liter engine, batteries, and an electric motor.
CALSTART, a non-profit clean transportation technology industry organization, conducted independent testing of the prototype and confirmed the 50 percent improvement in fuel efficiency on average.
This advanced technology development and testing program was funded by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC’s) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which provides funding to help both develop next generation transportation technology components and vehicles, as well as speed the deployment of lower carbon transportation product available today. Volvo provided matching funds for the technology demonstration project.
“It’s impressive that Volvo CE was able to demonstrate a 50 percent improvement with this hybrid wheel loader prototype,” said John Boesel, CALSTART’s president and CEO. “This project is a major step toward the use of hybrid systems in the non-road vehicle sector.”
The engine in the prototype hybrid wheel loader used 100 percent renewable diesel which was supplied by Golden Gate Petroleum. Renewable diesel uses organic feedstock and has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil diesel.
“One of the things we learned from this project is that a hybrid wheel loader can run on a fuel that is 100 percent renewable. When you combine the increased efficiency with the lower carbon fuel, it’s quite possible than in the future we could see such equipment that cut greenhouse gas emissions in half,” said Boesel.
“California Energy Commission funding was critical to this project’s success. The funding provided by this agency is helping to put California on a path toward a sustainable transportation future,” said Boesel.
CALSTART is a national non-profit organization headquartered in California. The organization serves as a catalyst to accelerate the growth of the clean transportation technology industry as a strategy to create high quality jobs, improve public health, and prevent climate change. CALSTART has more than 165 member companies and offices in three states.