Photo courtesy of Volvo.

Photo courtesy of Volvo.

Volvo Trucks announced several enhancements to its 2016 VN Series highway tractors designed to improve fuel efficiency compared to previous generations.

Volvo made changes to both aerodynamics and powertrains in the VN trucks in order to deliver the increased fuel savings.

The bumper, chassis and roof fairings of 2016 VN models were adjusted to reduce air turbulence and improve airflow under the truck, around tires and over the trailer gap, increasing fuel efficiency up to 3.5%.

“In real-world operations, an aerodynamic tractor doesn’t guarantee optimal aerodynamics for the tractor-trailer combination,” said Jason Spence, Volvo Trucks product marketing manager. “We’ve made further enhancements at key exterior and interior locations of our model year 2016 vehicles to greatly improve the transfer of air from the tractor to the trailer, ultimately improving the total aerodynamic performance of the complete vehicle.”

Powertrain enhancements were made through adaptive gearing and torque management, which could improve fuel efficiency by up to 2.5%.

Building on its XE – eXceptional Efficiency – powertrain packages, Volvo will be offering an XE-Adaptive Gearing package that optimizes fuel efficiency whether a truck is fully loaded or empty. 

The system is both a direct and overdrive driveline depending on rear axle load, which the system senses in real-time. When loaded, the transmission locks out the 12th gear and provides the performance and fuel efficiency benefits of direct drive, says the company.

During unloaded or lightly loaded trips, the driveline operates in overdrive, providing enhanced fuel efficiency and even greater driver comfort. Road speed limits can be set according to loaded and unloaded portions of a trip to fit each fleet's operating needs.

XE-Adaptive Gearing engine ratings will initially be available for Volvo’s D11 and D13 engines paired with an I-Shift automated manual transmission.

There will also be three new torque control features to increase fuel efficiency, prolong tire life, and decrease driveline stress. The control features use Volvo’s multi-torque engine profiles to manage torque for different operating environments.