Hybrids truckin’ on
The DAF truck is the latest in hybrid technology, writes James Stanford
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.