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Iveco’s two tier strategy for low carbon vehicles

12th August 2010 Print

The breadth of Iveco’s low carbon expertise in the commercial vehicle sector is arguably second to none, as a result of significant investment in alternative fuels since the mid-1990s.  Indeed, Iveco produced the first electrically-powered Daily all the way back in 1986 and today offers more alternative fuel vehicles in the market from 3.5 tonnes and above than any other manufacturer.

This investment is part of a two tier strategy to minimise CO2 output from its commercial vehicles.  Sitting alongside Iveco’s investment in alternative fuels and traction systems is the continual evolution of the diesel engine, ensuring Iveco creates dedicated solutions for vehicle operator’s real applications.

The strength of this two tier strategy has been clearly evident in recent years.  In addition to its extensive alternative fuel range, Iveco was the first manufacturer to offer its truck range in the UK with Euro 5 engines – four years before the mandatory introduction date.  And today, with the exception of the 560 hp Stralis, every new diesel-powered Iveco truck sold in the UK comes with an engine conforming to the even more stringent EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) standard.

Alongside traditional diesel technology, Iveco is investing in different alternative fuel strategies, aware that a single unique solution to meet the needs of sustainable transport does not yet exist.

Its extensive low carbon line-up includes:

Natural gas
Iveco has always attributed great importance to natural gas, and is the European leader in the production and sales of commercial vehicles running on this fuel – with specific models of the EcoDaily, Eurocargo and Stralis designed to run in the UK on compressed biomethane (CBM) or compressed natural gas (CNG).

CBM is a commercially competitive and environmentally sound fuel that can be directly substituted for natural gas. The Government considers CBM to be the most sustainable alternative fuel in terms of impact on resource depletion in relation to alternatives such as biodiesel and ethanol. Furthermore, CBM has the lowest carbon intensity of all commercially available alternative fuels.

Even though the majority of Iveco trucks with diesel engines conform to the EEV standards, those with natural gas engines approach and in virtually every case surpass the limits established for Euro 6, which will be applied to heavy goods vehicles from 2013. This means that Iveco is already in possession of the technology necessary for the next decade.

Its Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) natural gas engines are around 30 per cent quieter than their equivalent diesel. According to trials conducted as part of the EU Fideus project (Freight Innovative Delivery of Goods in European Urban Space), this makes them particularly suitable for night use in urban areas, without requiring any further noise insulation measures.

There are 28 different EcoDaily natural gas models available in the UK, plated between 3.5 and 7 tonnes and available in both van and chassis cab configuration.  They are each powered by a 3 litre engine capable of producing up to 136 hp between 2,730 and 3,500 rev/min, and up to 350 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 2,730 rev/min.

Natural gas variants of the Eurocargo can be ordered between 12 – 16 tonnes.  They are all powered by the same tector 6 engine (5.9 litre, 6 cylinders), producing up to 200 hp at 2,700 rev/min and up to 650 Nm of torque between 1,250 and 2,000 rev/min.

In the heavy truck sector, Iveco offers rigid and tractor variants of the Stralis Active Day and Active Time at 18 – 34  tonnes.  Like all of Iveco’s natural gas powered range, it is purpose-built on the factory-line for operation with CBM and features a six cylinder 7.8 litre Cursor 8 engine which produces up to 300 hp at 2,000 rev/min and up to 1,100 Nm of torque between 1,100 and 1,650 rev/min.

Iveco is also conducting vehicle trials with hydro-methane, a mixture of natural gas with 30 per cent hydrogen.  With sustainably sourced hydrogen, this gas offers even further reductions in CO2 emissions.

Pure electric traction
Iveco, a front runner in electric traction technology, offers the EcoDaily Electric 3.5 and 5.2 tonne zero emission vehicles for sale in the UK.  These vehicles are designed, manufactured and sold directly by Iveco – rather than being aftermarket conversions.

They use a three-phase traction motor controlled by means of the DC/AC inverter to provide effortless driving and range-extending regenerative braking. Motor power is 30kW continuous (60kW peak) for 35S EcoDaily Electric models and 40kW continuous (80kW peak) for 50C models.

Unlike some other electric vehicles on the market, all drive components and batteries are housed either in the engine compartment or within the chassis side rails, ensuring there is no compromise in load space.  At the end of the vehicle’s life, recycling is not compromised; the Zebra batteries are completely recyclable.

For further information on the EcoDaily Electric please see accompanying release dated 3 August 2010, Ref: IVECO 10034.

Diesel – electric parallel hybrid traction
For vehicles that are purely city or town-based, pure electric traction provides excellent benefits for the operator and for society as a whole.  However, where the vehicle is required to leave the urban environment, and where range is a key operational need, a diesel-electric hybrid drive provides an excellent solution.

This technology is designed to provide traction either purely by electric motor, purely by diesel engine or by a combination of the two.  It combines benefits both in ease of driving and in fuel economy savings of up to 30 per cent, depending on the specific application, , in comparison to conventional power train solutions. These savings are achieved in three ways:

Regenerative braking system: Braking functions act as a generator and the kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy to charge the traction batteries on the move.

Stop / start function: When the vehicle comes to a rest the diesel engine is automatically switched off (such as at traffic lights or in stationary traffic). Starting from rest is initially by electric motor only.  The diesel engine starts automatically according to vehicle speed and driver acceleration inputs.

Smaller diesel engine: With a diesel-electric parallel hybrid, the use of a smaller engine covers most needs.  However, in cases of rapid acceleration or steep hills where extremes of power are required this can be met by the diesel engine working in parallel with the electric motor.

UK fleets can purchase the new Eurocargo hybrid with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 or 12 tonnes.  It uses a diesel-electric parallel hybrid driveline, making it possible to carry out multi-drop distribution in towns and cities without sacrificing high-speed performance on motorways.

The 7.5 tonne model uses the 16-valve, four-cylinder FPT tector EEV diesel engine with maximum power output of 160 hp, working in combination with a 60 hp electric motor-generator.  The engine and motor are driven through a six-speed automated gearbox and a lithium ion battery pack with 1.9 kWh capacity.

The 12 tonne version uses the 16-valve, four-cylinder tector EEV diesel engine with maximum rated power of 180 hp, with transmission and battery specifications identical to its 7.5 tonne sister model. The payload is only 200 kg less than conventional diesel engined models.  This vehicle also offers automatic application of the engine brake during deceleration, for maximum efficiency.