After a presentation to journalists on improving fuel efficiency in wheel loaders, Gunnar Stein, Volvo Construction Equipment's global director of driveline systems, offered a sobering assessment of progress in the company's hybrid-wheel-loader program, saying, "All technology comes with a cost tag, and the hybrids are not there yet."
Stein was speaking to trade press at the Volvo Innovation Forum at the company's customer center in Eskilstuna, Sweden, on Aug. 27. His position represents a shift for Volvo, which wowed crowds at CONEXPO 2008 with the L220F, a prototype electric-hybrid wheel loader. That machine turned heads, but Stein says Volvo has moved on. "We have investigated that concept quite in depth. … The L220F suffered from not giving a return on investment, from a customer perspective."