Monday, January 22, 2018

Volvo Autohauler aims to maximize capacity, boost efficiency


Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The VAH is a day cab with a lower chassis than standard models, a short bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) dimension and an EPA 2010 engine. (Volvo photo)
The VAH is a day cab with a lower chassis than standard models, a short bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) dimension and an EPA 2010 engine. (Volvo photo)

DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo Trucks in North America has introduced a new truck exclusively for the automobile transport business. The Volvo Autohauler (VAH) was developed to maximize freight capacity while bringing efficiency, safety and comfort to this important niche market.

The VAH is a day cab with a lower chassis than standard models, a short bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) dimension and an EPA 2010 engine.    

“The new Volvo Autohauler is designed to maximize loading space for our customers while incorporating the latest in engine technology,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks North America senior vice president, sales and marketing. “The lower chassis reduces the overall height of the truck, allowing a car, pick-up or minivan to be positioned over the cab to maximize the efficiency of every delivery.”

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The design also features an axle-forward configuration providing the weight distribution needed for excellent maneuverability. With a clean top-of-frame behind the cab, the VAH is built for quick body mounting and easy trailer hook up.  

“Our goal with this new auto hauler was to reduce lead time and increase efficiency for auto transporters,” Volvo Trucks marketing product manager Wade Long said. “We worked closely with customers and truck body builders to understand and meet their needs. Volvo Trucks is confident that the VAH has the design, engineering and performance that the demanding vehicle transport market has been waiting for.”

Steve Hansen, executive vice president, Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport, said he likes to be “on the leading edge” and that helping develop a better product results in better service to his customer. The company, which operates 325 trucks, ordered one of the first prototypes and worked closely with Volvo Trucks as it refined the design and prepared for production. He recently placed an order for 40 new Volvo Autohaulers. 

“In our business, the truck cab needs to be as small as possible to maximize loading space,” said Hansen.  “The cab height, frame height and BBC dimensions are very important. With the new Volvo Autohauler, we’re getting a truck that gives us the capacity we need. The inside of the cab is comfortable, too, and has more room than you might expect.”

Cassens Transport Company, which operates a fleet of 1,200 trucks, also ordered a VAH prototype, selecting it primarily because of its cab dimensions. Minimizing cab height is particularly important for Cassens, which delivers to many older cities along the east coast, where low overpasses are often a concern.

“The whole game is about inches and the VAH offers the lowest cab available,” said Brian Suhre, Cassens Transport Company vice president, facilities and equipment. “Yet when you get inside, the interior is spacious and doesn’t feel mechanical. It’s like driving a nice passenger car.”

With the introduction of the VAH, Volvo says it’s the first OEM to bring to market an auto transporter with an EPA 2010 engine. Volvo Trucks’ EPA ‘10 solution, with “no regen selective catalytic reduction” (SCR), improves fuel efficiency by 5 percent or more over EPA 2007 engines, according to the truck maker. Available with a Volvo D11 or D13 engine, the VAH can deliver up to 500 horsepower. 

In addition to efficiency, the VAH is designed for safety and comfort. A Volvo cab together with an ergonomic instrument panel that puts controls within safe and easy reach are meant to provide a comfortable operating experience, minimizing driver fatigue.   

To further boost driver comfort, save fuel and enhance safety, the VAH is available with a Volvo I-Shift transmission. The intelligent transmission system continuously monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque demand, weight and air resistance.  With the engine and transmission in constant communication, I-Shift automatically selects the best gear for the engine. 

“Our driver loves the I-shift,” said Suhre. “It’s more intelligent than an automatic transmission and bypasses gears that aren’t necessary. 

Equipped with the EPA 2010 engine, comfortable cab, and all the features customers have come to expect in a Volvo truck, the VAH is an innovative and reliable solution for the auto transport market, Volvo says. 

 “The VAH is another example of how Volvo operates — combining leading-edge development and production with a commitment to meeting the customer’s needs,” Long said.   

Like all Volvo trucks for North America, the VAH is being assembled in the USA, at the company’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va., the company noted.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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