Hybrid Wheel Loader Project Funded by Energy Commission Demonstrates 50 Percent Fuel Efficiency Improvement

Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) electric hybrid wheel loader prototype vastly outperformed its diesel-powered counterpart in two California field tests, the company announced July 12 alongside project partners from the California Energy Commission, Waste Management, and CALSTART at a test site in Novato.

During hundreds of hours of real-world customer testing, the LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader did the work of a wheel loader one size larger, while achieving a roughly 50 percent increase in fuel efficiency compared to Volvo CE’s conventional diesel-powered wheel loader.

Volvo CE received more than $1.8 million from the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program for the LX1’s development and demonstration. The program invests up to $100 million per year to support advancements in alternative, renewable fuels and the vehicles powered by them. “The Energy Commission is pleased to invest in projects like the development and demonstration of Volvo CE’s LX1 electric hybrid wheel loader,” said Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “Demonstrations like these help improve the viability of cleaner, less polluting technologies for near-term market adoption in California’s commercial goods movement, transit, and other sectors.”

The LX1 was tested in different capacities at two Waste Management facilities in California – the Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center in Novato, and a waste transfer station in Moreno Valley. At the Novato center, the vehicle was used more for lifting and dumping, while the Moreno Valley test required more pushing. At both facilities, the engine in the hybrid wheel loader used 100 percent renewable diesel.

The preliminary results of the Novato facility tests demonstrate an average improvement of 50 percent in fuel efficiency, compared to its conventional counterparts. Preliminary results from the Moreno Valley facility show an average fuel efficiency improvement of around 45 percent. Both results exceeded the 35 percent fuel efficiency improvement target set for the project.

CALSTART, a non-profit clean transportation technology industry organization, conducted independent testing of the prototype and confirmed Volvo’s fuel efficiency findings.

Waste Management, which carried out the field tests, operates one of the largest fleets of Volvo CE equipment in the world. Waste Management is the largest environmental services and recycling company in North America.

The machine will now be shipped back to Sweden for more testing, updates and fine-tuning.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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