The Swedish auto maker Volvo has enhanced its truck range in Europe with the addition of a new version of the Volvo FE that runs entirely on compressed natural gas (CNG). The so-called Volvo FE CNG has been designed for activities that involve short driving cycles with repeated stops such as trash collection or local distribution. In addition to that the new Volvo FE CNG offers exceptional environmental cleanliness as natural gas has very low levels of harmful particles. If produced from biofuels, natural gas can have carbon dioxide emissions that are up to 70 per cent lower than those of a diesel-powered truck.

"With the Volvo FE CNG we can now offer companies that drive predominantly in urban environments a truck with a far lower environmental impact. Many cities the world over are looking for alternatives to diesel-powered trucks. In the field of refuse handling, for example, renewable fuels are often a requirement for securing a contract," says Christina Eriksson, Business Manager Alternative Drivelines at Volvo Trucks.

The new Volvo FE CNG is powered by an all-new 9-liter Euro-6 engine featuring spark plug technology that produces 320 horsepower (235 kW) and 1356 Nm (1000 lb-ft) of torque. Thanks to its six-speed fully-automatic transmission, the truck retains the same excellent driveability and productivity as the conventional Volvo FE. The automatic transmission also gives faster driveline response.

"Spark plug technology is particularly suitable for driving cycles where the truck covers short distances with a lot of start-stop traffic," explains Christina Eriksson.

"Methane gas is the fuel that will become a sustainable alternative to diesel in the long-term. Right now the focus is on working together with the various public authorities and private corporations to draw up the relevant rules and create the right conditions for positive development," says Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director at Volvo Trucks.

The new Volvo FE CNG will become commercially available this month with series production commencing in early 2015. No word on pricing as of now.

Source: Volvo