The company has become the first manufacturer in Europe to employ gas-powered trucks in long-haul operations, by using liquefied gas in an efficient diesel engine.
According to the manufacturer, this technology with natural gas generates 10 percent lower CO2 emissions than a diesel engine. Volvo Trucks also aims for greater availability and use of biogas, which reduces CO2 emissions still further - up to 70 percent compared with a conventional diesel engine.
In addition, since the price of natural gas is often significantly lower than that of diesel, financial savings are also possible.
The Volvo FM MethaneDiesel is offered with a 13-litre engine producing 460 horsepower and 2300 Nm of torque. The fuel consists of up to 75 percent liquefied gas and the rest diesel, but the proportions can vary depending on how the vehicle is used. If the gas tank runs dry, the system automatically switches over to diesel. The driver is alerted via a control lamp that comes on in the instrument panel.
It will initially be sold in Europe, with plans to build about 100 trucks in 2011. Series production will get under way in August. Other parts of the world will follow.
"If things go as planned, we expect sales to take off in 6-8 European countries within the next two years, with about 400 Volvo FM MethaneDiesel trucks sold a year. Future sales will naturally depend largely on expansion of liquefied gas filling stations for commercial vehicles," said Claes Nilsson, President Europe Division at Volvo Trucks.
Aside from a video showing the FM MethaneDiesel truck in action, an animation explaining the process has been made available at the following link.