Revealed in the Exploration Forum late last year, Volvo have unveiled the LX1 and HX1 prototype hybrid wheeled loaders.
Boasting 50% improved fuel efficiency and excreting 95% less emissions than any competitor, Volvo has not yet made these trucks commercially available but give an exciting glimpse into this new electric frontier of construction machinery.
The LX1 features electric drive motors mounted at the wheels, electric hydraulics, an energy storage system, a significantly smaller diesel engine and new machine architecture. There is no other machine like it.
The HX1 on the other hand, is an autonomous, battery electric, load carrier. It features a hybrid wheel loader and a grid-connected excavator. This new technology encompasses machine and fleet control systems and also provide logistic solutions for electric machines when they’re in quarries.
Automation and Efficiency
What is more, the reason for automated trucks was revealed to have come as a ‘knock-on effect’ from the numerous industries Volvo is involved in and now that the technology surrounding the concept was available.
“Autonomous vehicles are actually easier to launch first in an infrastructure setting, like a quarry or a mine, or even roadworks, because it is contained,” he explains. “The technology required for autonomous passenger vehicles is already further ahead, and so our industry can easily benefit from the technological gains because of this macrophenomenon.
“To have a safe autonomous vehicle, you have to calibrate for the unknown — a driver not stopping at a red light, a child on a bicycle, tree limbs falling — things that are hard to write a computer algorithm for. But in a controlled setting, like a construction site, there are fewer distractions.” He continued.
Seeking to be the pioneer in the construction equipment industry, the team at Volvo said they set them selves four key technology challenges to meet:
- Zero Emissions
- Zero Accidents
- Zero Unplanned Stops
- Higher Efficiency
With that in mind, electriomobility seems like the clear path in achieving these goals. The firm believes that automated machines will help to avoid accidents, maximise up-time and reduce the risk of breakdowns. Boosting productivity all around and making unplanned stops a thing of the past.
Furthermore, their low cost, low emission machines are also aimed to assist making customer’s businesses more environmentally sustainable.
“As an OEM, we are looking not just at the technology, but how we put all of it together into business models that drive customer value, and at the same time reduce emissions,” Mr. Weissburg said during the forum.
It’s been a quick three months since Volvo’s Xploration Forum and those in the industry have patiently been waiting for Volvo’s commercial release. Whether their electromotive and automated machines are a safe possibility is something we just have to wait a little longer to see.