The Volvo Trucks Customer Center tripled the size of its customer experience track in Dublin, Virginia. The 3-mile course now includes two super-elevations demonstrating radius and grade change, as well as a 1-mile straightaway.
New features add the ability to demonstrate the Volvo Dynamic Steering system so visitors understand how VDS handles high speed, incline acceleration, descent braking, and curve steering mobility. Guests are paired with certified commercial driver’s license operators to guide them through every turn of the expanded track.
“The Volvo Customer Center illustrates further investment in Volvo Trucks’ footprint in North America, where customers can demo entire product lines of our new battery-electric truck models and vocational vehicles while being safely guided by our team of skilled CDL drivers,” said Rob Simpson, director of the Volvo Trucks Customer Center.
“Customers can test all the safety and driver comfort features on the customer experience track designed with new S-curves and concrete curb drops that simulate a real-world truck driving experience.”
New Track Features
The enhanced track includes grade changes with a 6-7% increase at its steepest points and tighter S-curves through 3 miles of highway track, with a 1-mile straightaway where drivers can accelerate to highway speeds.
The track also features an 8-inch concrete curb drop build-out, used to simulate hazards drivers might experience on real-world routes. The new features let visitors experience the VDS system, which Volvo said allows drivers to maintain control when encountering potential threats by uneven roads, ditches, and tire blow outs, helping the truck to arrive at a safe stopping point.
“The driver drives into the curb so that the left tire drops into that 8-inch ditch and then immediately steers to the right to come back onto the road surface,” Simpson said. “Without VDS, the steering wheel would be jerked hard to the left and the driver would fight to maintain control.”
Volvo Dynamic Steering
The VDS system is a safety feature available in most Volvo Truck models that the company said improves stability at all road speeds when encountering crosswinds, highway crowning, soft shoulders, or emergency situations such as tire failure.
With an electric motor mounted on top of the hydraulic steering gear, VDS monitors road inputs at 2,000 times per second. Volvo said this enhanced steering assist helps drivers keep trucks on course, maneuver through tight turns, and more easily back to docks.
Vocational vehicles, including the VHD 300 dump truck, can be maneuvered on a gravel off-road section of the course designed for customers to experience the VDS system in action for applications that require an extremely tight turning radius.
The vehicles are tested on a designated three-quarter-mile section with two steep 27% grades to experience Rock Free, an extreme I-Shift mobility function that lets the driver rock the truck back and forth to by pumping the accelerator if the truck gets stuck in mud or sand.
Volvo Customer Center
In addition to the customer experience track, the 36,000-square-foot Volvo Customer Center features interactive product displays, exhibit and training rooms, a pilot review room with 40-ton lift, and a large theater-style hall with an 80-foot turntable that can accommodate a range of events and activities, including a complete tractor with trailer.
The customer center also includes a new interactive electromobility exhibit with Volvo VNR Electric truck displays and fully operational charging infrastructure. Visitors also have the opportunity to tour the adjacent New River Valley production plant where all Volvo trucks in North America are assembled.