Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) has unveiled its latest Class 8 Volvo VNL truck, which will serve as a platform for upcoming technologies including battery-electric, fuel cell, and internal combustion powertrains that run on renewable fuels such as hydrogen.
“The all-new Volvo VNL was designed to change everything. However, change doesn’t only come with a redesigned truck. This product introduction is the start of a new era for Volvo Trucks, our customers, and their drivers — a quantum leap forward,” said VTNA president Peter Voorhoeve.
“Zero accident and zero emissions, that is how we design trucks.”
Customers in Canada will get a closer look at the VNL during Truck World in Mississauga, Ont., from April 18-20, added Magnus Koeck, vice-president — brand, marketing and strategy.
Voorhoeve said the new offering focuses on fuel efficiency, safety, driver comfort and connectivity.
The aerodynamics relating to the streamlined and more angular, wedge-shaped cab, which features a redesigned windshield, is said to boost fuel efficiency by 7%, while the I-Shift transmission increases fuel economy by 3%. (No manual transmissions will be available.)
The truck will be powered by the latest D13 engine, which is available in four horsepower ratings, ranging from 405-500 hp, and three torque ratings from 1,750-1,950 lb-ft.
30% faster shift speeds
The different power options incorporate an updated I-Shift transmission, which features up to 30% faster shift speeds, the OEM says.
Volvo has introduced a new 24-volt electrical infrastructure with its latest offering, too. A new linear exhaust aftertreatment system will be easier to service and deliver better DEF treatment for an even cleaner system, it adds.
The latest VNL includes active safety systems like Volvo Active Driver Assist Plus with Pilot Assist, which provides active lane centering.
Volvo Active Driver Assist Plus is powered by Volvo Dynamic Steering, which improves maneuvering at all speeds, including more controlled backing, increases stability at all road speeds, and adapts and corrects for crosswinds, highway crowns, soft shoulders, or emergency situations like tire failures.
A new pedestrian detection feature alerts the driver when a pedestrian or cyclist may be in a truck’s path or blind spots, and will activate frontal automatic emergency braking to avoid objects directly in the path of travel.
When it comes to protecting truck drivers, the cab now offers a side-curtain airbag, while there are options for driver-only, or driver and passenger airbags as well. Volvo Trucks’ flared frame rails also ensure the powertrain drops below the cab to further protect the driver if a crash occurs.
E-Call, a new safety feature, connects the driver to emergency services where cellular connectivity is available and provides precise location details. This occurs automatically in the event of a rollover crash or airbag deployment.
Sleeper as a ‘home away from home’
Inside, Volvo has aimed to create a “home away from home” experience. Improved amenities include an optional folding bunk to allow easy access to the dinette space.
“Drivers don’t have to make the bed. It holds the sheets in place,” said Johan Agebrand, director of product.
There’s a singular multi-functional control panel at the back of the cab, along with upgraded insulation for climate control and noise reduction, a larger refrigerator, and enough power options to support any device, the OEM says.
Volvo VNL driving experience
In terms of driving, a new, optional GRAS (Global Rear Air Suspension), uses dual leveling rods to reduce roll and pitch angles, improve lateral stability, and minimize road shocks, maintaining a constant ride height for drivers.
GRAS and the supporting Volvo Smart Suspension software work with the Volvo Dynamic Steering system to provide precise steering control. Drivers are provided with three different settings to adjust the suspension for different loading and unloading conditions.
Agebrand added the VNL uses the stalk on the steering column for three operations. It’s rotated to engage the gears, moved up and down for engine brake settings, and pushed and pulled to manually shift gears.
The truck also comes with an idle management tool to help reduce or eliminate engine idling when the vehicle is stopped or parked. The integrated Volvo Parking Cooler is a climate-control option that utilizes the onboard 24-volt battery system to power the cab’s HVAC when parked, reducing emissions, engine wear, and fuel costs.
Fleet management portal
The integrated Volvo Connect, an all-in-one fleet management portal, houses all of Volvo Trucks’ digital services under one platform, including vehicle data insights, diagnostics, remote programming, fuel economy reports, safety reports, and location services.
A complementary 24-month Volvo Connect subscription comes standard with all new Volvo trucks.
The Blue Service Contract, an optional, comprehensive dealer managed service plan, will leverage Volvo’s connected services.
A Volvo MyTruck app, meanwhile, allows drivers to stay in touch with their truck by showing estimated remaining fuel range, DEF levels, and coolant levels, as well as notifications about potential issues such as light malfunctions, low washer fluid levels, and other important items. Drivers can schedule specific days and times to start the climate control, to have the cabin climate reach their preferred temperature before a workday begins.
The vehicle is packaged into four exterior and interior trim levels — core, edge, edge black, and ultimate — with six cab configurations.
The six cab configurations include VNL 300 Day Cab; VNL 440 42-inch Mid-Roof Sleeper; VNL 640 62-inch Mid-Roof Sleeper; VNL 660 62-inch Full-Height Sleeper; VNL 840 74-inch Mid-Roof Sleeper; and VNL 860 74-inch Full-Height Sleeper.
Sales will begin in the coming months, with production to be completed at the Volvo Trucks New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va.
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