responses submitted by Ron Huibers, President, Volvo Penta of the Americas
Diesel vs. Electric
Do you think there will always be a place for diesel powered equipment for heavy-duty applications? Why or why not?
We foresee that the market will need a mixture of solutions over time and the combustion engine will be required for a long period ahead. We are evaluating and developing solutions in both areas. It is difficult to predict the exact pace of development of alternative solutions to diesel powered equipment. Research and development of alternative fuels and drivelines has since long been carried out within Volvo Penta and together with the Volvo Group. This important work is ongoing and will continue. Our main focus is to make sure transport operators and society will benefit from new technology such as electrification.
How do the diesel bans in several major cities around the world play into the direction your company is taking for electric vehicle development, if at all?
Yes, there are an increasing number of cities with plans for Zero Emission Zones (ZEZ). Over time, it is likely that such zones will be extended geographically and include more transport types or machineries. We foresee that the market will need a mixture of solutions over time and the combustion engine will be required for a long period ahead. Therefore, we are evaluating and developing solutions in both areas.
How are you looking at engine system design and development for the future? Modularity? More integrated sensors? More compact design?
We are strongly focused on electric mobility as a key technology for the future. In June, Volvo Penta issued a clear statement of intent that by 2021 we will provide electrified power solutions for our industrial and marine segments. Both hybrid and all-electric solutions will be offered at the outset.
Our efforts at Volvo Penta will be underpinned by the success of hybrid and all-electric technology by our sister companies within the Volvo Group, which include Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses and Volvo Construction Equipment – all of which have extensive electrification R&D experience and expertise.
As part of this increased commitment, Volvo Penta has restructured its organization to accelerate the switch towards electrified power and has committed to an ambitious ramping up of the electrification investment program. To that end we have established an electromobility development and test laboratory at our Swedish headquarters. We are already field testing early prototypes, and system validation is under way.