Sponsored By:

   The Nation  |  Business  |  Equipment  |  Features

Industrial Parts Dep

Volvo focus remains on fuel efficiency, maximum uptime

Volvo will focus on growing all its Class 8 segment, said officials here during MATS. (Photo: APRILLE HANSON)

The Trucker Staff

3/27/2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Volvo Trucks showed off its full range of North American Class 8 models here during the Mid-America Trucking Show, with Volvo President Sales and Marketing Göran Nyberg stressing that with 2014 and beyond fuel efficiency and more customer uptime will continue to be major focuses. “We remain focused on ensuring that the ongoing phases of engine and vehicle regulations do not burden our customers, but instead create value for their operations,” said Nyberg. “Introduction of our SCR-equipped models yielded a 5 percent fuel efficiency increase, and we’re pleased to announce that our 2014 engine lineup is delivering up to an additional 3 percent savings.” A combination of in-lab and on-road testing proved that the initially announced fuel efficiency figures of up to 2 percent understated the true fuel savings and value of 2014 Volvo engines.

“Fuel efficiency remains top-of-mind across the industry, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that will deliver massive improvements. Every drop counts,” Nyberg said. “On average, a 1 percent fuel efficiency improvement amounts to annual savings of more than $650 per truck. Carriers ignoring opportunities for incremental fuel efficiency gains are leaving money on the table.”

Volvo’s venture into dimethyl ether or DME continues, Nyberg told reporters in response to questions at a news conference prior to MATS, with “good progress” being made and “better than expected” feedback from drivers during field tests, Nyberg said.

However, he said as with any new technology there will still be equipment hurdles to jump.

Currently, Nyberg said, there are four DME test vehicles on the road with between three and five being tested “internally” by Volvo and two more road test vehicles are expected to be released by the end of the year.

As to infrastructure needs, DME is a gas similar to propane and will prove to be a “simple solution” as far as truckers finding the fuel on the road. So the fuel infrastructure ramp-up will be quick, Nyberg said.

He said Volvo will continue to focus on its fuel savings’ technologies and expects the 2014 Class 8 sales market to come back to 250,000 trucks because the average age of trucks on the road are about eight years old, creating pent-up demand.

The OE’s Dublin, Va., plant will be ramping up production with an additional 200 new employees being hired.

“We will focus on growing all our Class 8 segment,” Nyberg said.

He touted the success of the integrated powertrain with the I-Shift acting as the “brain” to decide what gear should be used or if skipping gears is called for. “Every component speaks the same language,” which results in improved fuel efficiency — a 3 percent increase over standard overdrive, realizing a savings of $2,000 per truck.

The integrated powertrain is being offered across three engine platforms.

"The innumerable intricacies that exist between various segments require continued development of application-specific vehicles and specifications.

“We’ve taken the same comprehensive approach with our alternative fuels strategy and work toward offering a range of engine and fuel options that consider operational and geographic needs and infrastructure realities,” said Göran Nyberg. “Over the past three years, we’ve expanded our vehicle lineup with the launch of the VAH, tailored to the specific needs of autohaulers, and the VNX for heavy-haul operations. Our most recent introduction, the Optimized Series for regional applications, brings together features proven to improve cost of ownership. It’s an approach we’ll extend in other segments.”