FPInnovations’ Performance Innovation Transport group, a not-for-profit engineering and research group for the North American trucking industry, announced it is conducting fuel consumption tests comparing European and North American Volvo Trucks models.

The equipment, leased by Transport Robert, a Boucherville, Québec-based truckload, LTL, intermodal and specialized carrier that serves customers across the U.S. and Canada, is being evaluated by PIT at the Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Québec.

“The goal of these trials, like all evaluations by PIT, is to use our controlled test-track fuel efficiency studies to provide the commercial vehicle industry with the information it needs to make sound equipment choices,” said Yves Provencher, director of PIT.

For the trials, PIT was provided with the following vehicles:

  • 2014 Volvo  Globetrotter European tractor: Euro 5 Emissions, 460 horsepower, 1696 pounds-feet, I-Shift transmission, 2.57 rear axle ratio
  • 2014 Volvo VNL 630: EPA 2010 Emissions, 425 horsepower, 1650–2050 pounds-feet (Eco Torque), I-Shift Direct Drive transmission, 2.64 rear axle ratio

Test vehicle modifications include installing an adapter on the 2014 Volvo  Globetrotter European tractor to accommodate its 24-volt and the trailer’s 12-volt electrical systems. Also added to that unit was a photovoltaic solar panel on the tractor roof to charge batteries, and its fifth wheel height was modified to 47 inches.
PIT is evaluating fuel efficiency on the Volvo tractors using the SAE J1526 Type III fuel consumption procedure, which compares vehicles using the gravimetric method of weighing portable tanks before and after each trip. The tractors for comparison are switched between trailers at mid-test. Values for fuel savings will be released later this year.

“PIT will continue to monitor these trucks closely because operational issues may play a role in their real world performance,” Provencher stated. “For example, North American loads are generally heavier than those hauled in Europe. Also, our speeds are faster so aerodynamics, which has more of an impact at higher speeds, may not be optimized.”

Following the PIT test track evaluations the vehicles will be used in various applications in Canada by the Transport Robert fleet to gauge ride, handling, comfort and driver acceptance. The European tractor is not permitted for U.S. operation.