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Hybrid Team Powers its Way to Volvo Technology Award

Six engineers behind the technology used in the L220F Hybrid wheel loader have received the Volvo 2009 Technology Award. The prize was presented for the team’s development of the world’s first commercially viable hybrid solution for heavy vehicles.


Engineers from different parts of the Volvo Group took part in the development of I-SAM. Six were represented at the prize ceremony at the Volvo Group’s annual general meeting in Sweden on April 1st: Anders Kroon, Jerker Lennevi, Joakim Lindström, Lars Carlhammar, Peter Jönsson and Christer Ehn.

“In the future, the hybrid will not be considered as a ‘special’ solution – the technology will be seen on a wide range of construction equipment, city buses and delivery trucks,” said Leif Johansson, President and CEO of Volvo Group, who presented the award. “We see great potential to develop hybrid technology for the construction equipment, heavy trucks and bus sectors. With its leading environmental position and stature as one of the largest producers of commercial vehicles, it is only natural for the Volvo Group to drive the development of tomorrow’s transport solutions.”

Established in 1988, the Volvo Technology Award is presented for particularly prominent technical achievements within the Volvo Group, ones that support the Volvo core values of quality, safety and environmental care – and stimulate efforts that further the Group’s technical skills and expertise.

I-SAM was first presented in March 2006 as the market’s first parallel hybrid concept for construction equipment, heavy trucks and buses. The parallel hybrid concept is particularly suited for vehicles that drive at different speeds and start and stop frequently – wheel loaders being a prime example. When a loader drives away, it initially uses the electric motor until it reaches an optimum speed for the diesel engine to take over. When the loader brakes, the energy is absorbed by the electric motor and stored in the batteries – to be used later during the next acceleration. Everything is controlled by a sophisticated control unit, which was also developed by Volvo Group engineers.

Caterpillar And Navistar Sign Definitive Agreement

As the next step in the alliance announced in June 2008, Caterpillar Inc. and Navistar International Corporation have signed a definitive agreement to produce Caterpillar heavy-duty vocational trucks for sale in North America and form a 50/50 joint venture that will pursue global commercial truck opportunities outside of North America.

“This joint venture leverages the complementary strengths of two great companies to serve global markets,” said Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and CEO, Navistar. “The venture will be distinctively positioned to offer customers world class on-highway trucks through the unequaled sales and service network of Cat and International dealers around the world, and the deep product expertise of Navistar.”

“We are extremely pleased with the commitment that the teams have demonstrated to make the signing of this global venture possible,” said Caterpillar chairman and CEO Jim Owens. “This is an important milestone and Caterpillar looks forward to becoming a significant player in the global on-highway truck market. Additionally, the introduction of a Cat Vocational Truck line in North America represents an exciting opportunity for Caterpillar and the Caterpillar dealer network to extend our reach in this market and offer customers a total jobsite solution.”

Global Commercial Truck Markets Outside of North America
The 50/50 joint venture will
develop, manufacture and distribute commercial trucks in regions outside of North America and India. Markets for the joint venture products will be assessed individually with initial focus being Australia, Brazil, China, Russia, South Africa and Turkey. It is anticipated that the portfolio of products will feature both aero nose and cab-over designs and will be sold under both the Caterpillar and International brands. The first products are expected to be available as early as the third quarter of 2009.

“We believe this clearly is an opportunity where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” said Dee Kapur, President Navistar Truck Group. “While Cat and Navistar do not compete in our core businesses, each brings distinctive capabilities to the table and have common goals to expand the base of engine, truck and equipment customers worldwide.”

The transaction is subject to receipt of various regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, including the execution of the related joint venture operating agreement and other ancillary agreements.

Following the closing of the transaction, a leadership team and board of directors comprised of both Caterpillar and Navistar representatives will be named.

North America Caterpillar Vocational Trucks
Under the strategic alliance, Caterpillar and Navistar will develop and manufacture a new line of heavy-duty Caterpillar vocational trucks for North America only. The new Caterpillar trucks will be co-developed by Caterpillar and Navistar and manufactured in Navistar’s Garland, TX facility. The trucks will be sold and serviced through the Caterpillar North American Dealer network.

“The heavy-duty vocational trucks will be purpose-built to complement Caterpillar’s existing product line and will give Caterpillar dealers an unmatched ability to support customer needs from extraction through delivery,” said George Taylor, director and general manager of the Caterpillar Global On-Highway Department.

The Caterpillar trucks will feature key Caterpillar proprietary components and technology and will target customers who operate in a wide variety of vocational applications, such as earth moving, quarry, waste, mining, general and heavy construction, logging and road construction.

“Caterpillar is proud to be working with an innovative leader to provide our customers distinctly Caterpillar vocational trucks in North America,” Taylor added.

The new Caterpillar on-highway vocational trucks will be unveiled in late 2010 and will go into full production in early 2011. The trucks will be sold and serviced exclusively by Caterpillar Dealers in North America. The transaction is subject to various closing conditions, including the
execution of the related strategic alliance agreement and certain other ancillary agreements.

Greg Sitek

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