Hy­brids truckin’ on

The DAF truck is the lat­est in hy­brid technology, writes James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

HY­BRID technology has just been given a boost with the in­tro­duc­tion of a DAF medium-duty diesel-elec­tric truck in Europe.

The Dutch wing of PAC­CAR, the gi­ant US com­pany that owns brands in­clud­ing Ken­worth, Peter­bilt and Western Star, pre­sented the truck at last month’s IAA com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles show in the Ger­man city of Hanover.

Called the LF hy­brid, the dis­tri­bu­tion truck has a cargo ca­pac­ity of 4.5 tonnes and goes into pro­duc­tion later this year.

There are no plans to in­tro­duce it to Aus­tralia but it may make its way here if there is de­mand.

The 12-tonne (GVM) LF was de­vel­oped by DAF in part­ner­ship with Ea­ton, Eind­hoven Uni­ver­sity in Hol­land and fel­low PAC­CAR com­pany Ley­land Trucks. The com­pany found the hy­brid mod­els de­liv­ered fuel con­sump­tion sav­ings and CO re­duc­tions of be­tween 10

2 and 20 per cent depend­ing on how the truck is used.

The DAF LF Hy­brid uses a par­al­lel diesel-elec­tric hy­brid sys­tem, which means the truck can be pro­pelled by its diesel en­gine, the elec­tric mo­tor or both at the same time.

Un­like au­to­mo­tive hy­brids such as the Toy­ota Prius, the DAF hy­brid truck is not able to op­er­ate purely on elec­tric power. This is be­cause the Prius has elec­tric steer­ing and air­con­di­tion­ing sys­tems that can op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently of the com­bus­tion en­gine, while the DAF and other hy­brid trucks still re­quire the diesel en­gine to spin drive belts that run the hy­draulic power steer­ing and the air­con­di­tion­ing com­pres­sor.

How­ever the DAF hy­brid only needs to run its diesel en­gine at idle speeds, us­ing very lit­tle fuel in such sit­u­a­tions. When the truck ac­cel­er­ates, the diesel en­gine will in­crease revs to pro­vide the ma­jor­ity of the power re­quired.

The elec­tric mo­tor, which is in­stalled be­tween the clutch and the gear­box, will give as much as­sis­tance as the bat­ter­ies al­low.

The eco truck uses a PAC­CAR group 4.5-litre four-cylin­der diesel that meets the ul­tra-low EEV emis­sion re­quire­ment with­out a par­tic­u­late fil­ter. Tuned for econ­omy, this unit gen­er­ates 118kW. It is linked to a six-speed Ea­ton au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The LF hy­brid fea­tures stop-start technology which means the en­gine stops au­to­mat­i­cally when the driver pulls up and au­to­mat­i­cally starts when ready to go. This fea­ture alone can save a con­sid­er­able amount of fuel if the truck op­er­ates in heavy traf­fic.

The DAF bat­tery pack is made up of 96 lithium-ion cells (each are 3.4-volts) and weighs 100kg. All up, the hy­brid LF is only 300kg heav­ier than the equiv­a­lent diesel model.

Go­ing green: the DAF hy­brid with stop-start technology is ideal for city traf­fic.

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