MONTREAL — Volvo Trucks North America Thursday unveiled the new Volvo VNR model, a regional-haul tractor designed and developed for the modern professional truck driver and the rapidly evolving demands of goods delivery.
Defined by innovations in every area — new aerodynamic design, reimagined working environment, improved engine and transmission options, gearing and loading efficiencies, passive and active safety systems and integrated connectivity — the new Volvo VNR is ideal for urban areas, pickup and delivery, liquid tankers, dry bulk, flatbed and other regional haul applications, according to Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
The company made the announcement on the eve of Canada’s largest trucking tradeshow Expocam.
“Our goal with the new VNR was to give our customers a versatile tool to meet their individual needs and challenges in the critical regional haul market,” Nyberg said. “Our investment in this new truck is a clear signal of Volvo’s commitment to meeting the needs of regional haul customers in North America today and in the future. Everything about the new Volvo VNR represents the shape of trucks to come.”
The shape of the new VNR is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, melding a family resemblance to the classic Volvo lines with the unique demands of a regional haul truck.
With a 113-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) length and improved sightlines over the hood, the new Volvo VNR was designed for increased maneuverability and versatility in tight spaces and urban traffic to complement its leading 50-degree wheel cut.
Details such as stamped steel bumpers that protect the lights and grille make it clear that the VNR is truly a work truck.
“The VNR model is a work truck, but it’s a dynamic, premium work truck, and aerodynamics are greatly important within the regional haul segment,” said Wade Long, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “Regional routes often mean traveling at highway speeds, where aerodynamics becomes increasingly important. With the new VNR model, customers will see an overall fuel efficiency gain of up to 3.5 percent compared with our previous regional haul model.”
“Making a better truck involves making it easier or drivers to drive,” Nyberg said. “We envision the new Volvo VNR as a tool that will actually help fleets improve driver recruitment and retention.”
The working environment of the Volvo VNR was designed to allow drivers to work more comfortably, productively and safely.
“Every innovation of the new Volvo VNR has been filtered through the driver’s eyes,” said Brian Balicki, Volvo Trucks North America chief designer. “We channeled the input of nearly 2,000 drivers and brought those thoughts and preferences to life through the VNR.”
Balicki said all that research found its way into the new Volvo VNR driving experience and in countless details meant to make drivers’ lives easier, like the Position Perfect three-motion steering wheel that allows for more optimal vertical positioning to help reduce arm, neck and shoulder fatigue. New seats offer more adjustments to fit more drivers’ shapes and preferences and bring comfort amenities like heating and cooling.
The VNR is also tailored to a driver’s connected lifestyle, incorporating an infotainment system equipped with Apple CarPlay, offering high-end audio with WiFi, Bluetooth, navigation, apps and an exterior camera. Drivers will also benefit from a new instrument cluster and large, color driver information display in the dash, which works with steering wheel-mounted controls to provide key operating parameters and access to trip information, performance data, and a wide-range of vehicle diagnostics.
“You don’t become the safest truck on the road by accident. It takes actively avoiding crashes,” said Long. “That’s why every innovation in the new Volvo VNR was filtered through this question: how will it make the truck safer?”
The new Volvo VNR builds on Volvo’s industry-leading safety reputation through passive and active safety technology enhancements. Volvo Active Driver Assist warns drivers through sound and a critical warning signal projected onto the windshield when they approach too close to an object in front of them, and the system can automatically apply brakes to help mitigate a collision. Automotive-quality LED headlights increase visibility and decrease light spillover onto oncoming traffic, making the road safer for everybody. Automotive features like automatic lighting and rain-sensing wipers provide convenience and help driver safety, while the lane change support system provides visibility to blind spots.
The VNR model features Volvo’s high-strength steel cab and exceeds both the Volvo Swedish Cab Safety Test and ECE R-29 rollover requirements. In the event a crash would occur, available side airbags for the driver’s seat also help protect the driver in a roll-over situation. The driver’s seat airbag complements the steering wheel-mounted driver’s-side airbag, which is standard on the VNR.
“The Volvo D11 engine offers the highest power to weight ratio of any engine we offer, making it the perfect match for regional haul applications,” said John Moore, Volvo Trucks product marketing manager — powertrain.
The efficient and powerful Volvo D11 engine is standard on the new Volvo VNR, offering up to 425 horsepower and 1,550 lb.-ft. of torque. Given the weight-conscious nature of many regional haul applications, the Volvo D11 engine was designed to match the new VNR model. The VNR can also be spec’d with a Volvo D13 engine rated up to 500 horsepower and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Volvo D11 and D13 engines feature wave pistons, a patented Volvo technology that burns fuel more efficiently. A common rail fuel delivery system with proprietary features is more efficient but also lighter, quieter and more precise. Both innovations reduce friction, which means longer life for the engine − and a much quieter ride for the driver. The D11 and D13 engines are also easier to service. Shimless rockers and quicker access to the exhaust aftertreatment system shrink maintenance time, which means more uptime for the truck. Combined with an XE — eXceptional Efficiency — transmission package, the engines for the VNR model are even more efficient as a result of downspeeding.
Paired with Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission as standard also allows for spec’ing of automated functions — Adaptive Loading, which senses when a truck is empty and lifts an axle to increase efficiency; and Adaptive Gearing, which locks out overdrive when the truck is fully loaded and makes it available on an empty return — that help reduce fuel consumption.
“One of the biggest differentiators in the industry is how vehicle owners are now leveraging connectivity to maximize uptime,” said Nyberg. “This will become even more important in the coming years.”
Uptime comes standard with the new Volvo VNR, equipped with Volvo’s factory-installed telematics hardware, providing connectivity for predictive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes through Volvo’s Remote Diagnostics. Through Volvo’s standard connectivity hardware, customers can also perform powertrain software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime, reduce downtime costs and improve vehicle efficiency.
Around-the-clock support of Volvo trucks is provided by the highly trained Volvo Action Service (VAS) agents, who monitor critical vehicle codes. If VAS agents detect an issue, they will assess the severity and provide the vehicle’s designated contact with the information needed to decide whether to keep operating the truck or take it for immediate service. The entire service case process is documented and tracked through Volvo’s ASIST online service management and communication platform, giving real-time visibility to case status, repair scheduling, and parts and service bay availability. VAS agents also facilitate Remote Programming updates.
“I’m truly excited for our customers to drive the new VNR, and to hear how it makes every aspect of the job better and their businesses more profitable,” said Nyberg.
Like all of Volvo’s North American models, the new VNR was designed and developed at Volvo Trucks’ North American technology center in Greensboro, North Carolina. The VNR will be produced at Volvo’s New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Virginia, while the Volvo engines and transmissions powering the VNR will be produced at Volvo’s powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.