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Volvo ups fuel efficiency efforts, positions itself for future

The Volvo VNL daycab offers customers a larger – 123-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) and is rated up to 80,000 GCWR.

By DOROTHY COX
The Trucker Staff

3/22/2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Volvo has championed fuel efficiency from the first EPA emissions rules to the present, but it’s still a “horse race” as far as which alternative fuel truck customers will favor in the future, Ron Huibers, president Volvo Trucks North American Sales and Marketing said.

So, Volvo is positioning itself for whichever way the pendulum swings.

“It’s an exciting time to be in the trucking industry,” said Huibers at MATs here, adding that Volvo has the cleanest-burning diesel engines in the world and that the truck maker’s message today “is the same as it was last year [and will be]. What drives our investment is fuel efficiency.”

And Volvo isn’t resting on its clean diesel laurels, choosing to explore fuel efficiency through alternative, green energy sources.

“Developing fuel-efficient technology, whether through natural gas, diesel or hybrid, is a priority for Volvo Trucks. We were the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to offer EPA 2010-certified engines with no credits, and we’ve continued that legacy by focusing our efforts on offering fleets solutions that reduce their fuel costs.

“The addition of the Volvo natural gas-powered VNL daycab is just the most recent example of our longstanding commitment to offering products that positively impact the return-on-investment of our customers,” he said.

The Volvo VNL daycab offers customers a larger – 123-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) and is rated up to 80,000 GCWR – and more robust spec’s than the natural-gas powered Volvo VNM daycab. Introduced in 2011, the VNM daycab features a 113-inch BBC and is rated up to 66,000 lbs. GCWR.

The natural gas-powered VNL model will be equipped with a 12-liter, 400 horsepower, 1,450 lb-ft. torque Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine that uses cost-effective, clean-burning compressed or liquefied natural gas and requires only a three-way catalyst to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

Volvo is currently operating natural gas-powered VNL demonstrator trucks, with production beginning in conjunction with commercial availability of the 12-liter gas engine.

Volvo Trucks also showed Mean Green, billed as “the world’s fastest hybrid truck” in its booth at Mid-America.

The eye-catching truck was developed utilizing Volvo Group’s hybrid driveline technology, and is equipped with a Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.

“Volvo has the engineers, technology and global support that result in solutions that strengthen the value of ownership for our customers,” Huibers said. “This is evidenced not only by the VNL daycab and Mean Green, but also our I-Shift automated manual transmission and award-winning, fuel-efficient XE13 powertrain package.”

The integrated XE13 powertrain package is available for Volvo VN series tractors and improves fuel efficiency by about 3 percent by lowering engine rpms Volvo calls “downspeeding.”

The XE13 package includes I-Shift, the Volvo D13 engine and proprietary software. The XE13 builds upon the fuel efficiency advantages delivered by Volvo’s EPA ’10-certified No Regen engines with SCR technology.