The Truck Writers of North America (TWNA) have recognized the Volvo XE13 powertrain package as the top technical achievement for 2011. The award presentation took place yesterday at the Technology & Maintenance Council's annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.

The XE13 (exceptional efficiency) package saves fuel by what Volvo calls "downspeeding" -- programming its I-Shift automated manual transmission to let a 13-liter engine cruise at 1,100 rpm, or about 200 rpm less than usual. This results in fuel savings of about 3% compared to a similarly specified truck with a manual overdrive transmission.

It won over five other products that were considered by a judging panel of truck journalists that included Tom Berg and Jim Park of Heavy Duty Trucking and Its chairman was James Menzies of Truck News and Truck West in Canada.

Also on the panel were Paul Abelson (Road King and Land Line), John Baxter (CCJ), Peter Carter (Today's Trucking), and Paul Hartley (AddMedia).

"Several members of the committee have had the chance to drive a Volvo VN equipped with the new powertrain package and we were all very impressed with how it performed on the road," said Menzies.

Park described his driving experience with the XE13 in HDT's November 2011 issue, available for reading in TruckingInfo's Archives section.

The award process began with panel members suggesting candidate products which had entered the market during 2011, Menzies explained. Using a point-scoring system, they went through several ballots before the finalists emerged and the winner was chosen.

Besides the Volvo XE13, the finalists were the Bendix EverSure spring brake; the Fontaine/Volvo lightweight integrated fifth wheel; Goodyear's self-sealing G392 SSD/SST DuraSeal wide-base tires; RigDig's Truck History Reports; and Spectra's Hub Alert heat sensing device.

To be eligible for the award, a product or service has to clearly exhibit technical innovation, have a wide applicability in the trucking industry, offer significant benefits, and be widely available. While complete vehicles are not eligible, components and systems are. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Technical Achievement Award, Menzies said.

Founded in 1988, TWNA is a professional organization whose members are writers, editors, public relations specialists, marketing personnel and others involved in the business of creating or producing information related to the world of trucking.