DAF Putting LF Hybrid Truck Into Production; Eaton Hybrid System

The DAF LF hybrid. Click to enlarge.

At the IAA 2010 in Hanover, DAF Trucks, a PACCAR company, presented the 12-tonne LF45 parallel hybrid truck, which will enter production at the end of this year. As part of PACCAR’s international hybrid program, the DAF LF Hybrid truck was developed in close collaboration with Eaton, Eindhoven University of Technology and Leyland Trucks Ltd, also a PACCAR company.

The commencement of production follows an extensive two-year field test, with vehicles in the most diverse practical applications in daily use with customers in both the UK and on the continent.

DAF LF hybrid system. Click to enlarge.

The truck is fitted with the 4.5-liter PACCAR FR diesel, which complies with the ultra-low EEV emission requirements as standard, without a soot filter. In the LF Hybrid, this engine produces a maximum power of 118 kW/160 hp and is linked to an automatic Eaton six-speed gearbox (Autoshift).

An electric motor is installed between the clutch and the gearbox, which can provide drive as well as functioning as a generator. Energy released during braking is stored in the lithium-ion batteries for re-use during acceleration. Depending on the degree of charge of the lithium-ion batteries, a central computer determines when the diesel engine provides the drive and when and to what extent the electric motor is used.

The battery pack for the hybrid system weighs around 100 kg (220 lbs) and comprises ninety-six 3.4 Volt cells. When these batteries are fully charged, the LF Hybrid truck can travel about two kilometers electrically without needing the diesel engine to drive it. In practice, this is enough to drive in and out of the green zones in city centers. In these types of circumstances, the diesel engine also runs at idle in order to drive various components (such as the steering pump and the air compressor). The LF Hybrid is also fitted with a start/stop system.

In addition to the battery pack, DAF hybrid technology consists of a current transformer that converts the alternating current supplied by the generator to direct current for the batteries. A cooling unit is also fitted to the chassis to cool this current transformer. The DAF LF45.160 Hybrid is only 300 kilograms heavier in total than the standard model with a diesel engine alone.

DAF is starting to supply the LF Hybrid in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium; countries in which market research has shown that the interest in hybrid vehicles is highest. Depending on the success of the LF Hybrid in these markets, DAF will decide whether to include the vehicle in the standard product range in other countries.

Hybrid technology will be developed further in the next few years, particularly with regard to batteries. For this reason the DAF LF Hybrid is offered as standard via PACCAR Financial with a full operational lease contract, so that the DAF dealer can implement any potential updates during the contract term.

Despite being the smallest in terms of volume of the seven truck producers in Europe as recently as less than ten years ago, DAF has achieved a market share of 16.3% for the first half of 2010. DAF is the market leader in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. In Germany—the largest truck market in Europe—DAF has achieved a market share of 12.1%.

In the total European tractor segment (15 ton+) DAF has achieved a market share of more than 21% during the first six months of 2010, making the Dutch truck manufacturer the market leader within the European Union.

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