Volvo Trucks North America rolled out powertrain and aerodynamic enhancements, along with interior upgrades designed to help fleets attract and retain drivers.
Volvo says improvements to VN series trucks should produce fuel efficiency gains of 8 percent or better over EPA 2007 engines.

At the Mid-America Trucking Show last week, Volvo introduced a new 455 horsepower and 1,550/1,750 lb-ft. torque rating for the Volvo D13 engine. The new rating complements Volvo Trucks' existing Eco-Torque and Dual-Torque ratings of 405, 425, 475, and 500 horsepower, designed to maximize fuel economy by providing a driver-intuitive, easy-to-use algorithm that rewards fuel-efficient driving and encourages low-rpm engine operation.

"Eco-Torque and Dual Torque ratings take advantage of high-torque-rise engine curves and take effect in the top two gears, where drivers in line-haul operations spend as much as 95 percent of their driving time," explains Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks' drivetrain product manager. "On demand, engine torque will increase by 200 lb ft - even 300 lb ft in the case of the 425 horsepower engine - to allow the vehicle to remain in top gear on most grades. Eco-Torque ratings allow full performance and fuel economy in the remaining gears, while Dual-Torque ratings are available to allow lower-rated transmissions to be used."

The Eco-Torque ratings are also available on the D11 and D16 engines.

Customers can also now achieve fuel savings through Volvo Trucks' new Mass Based Variable Torque software that senses the gross combination weight of the truck and adjusts the engine's torque when the truck is lightly loaded.

Aerodynamic Enhancements

New exterior components in the Fuel Enhancement package offered on 2011 Volvo VN model trucks include redesigned mirror heads with aerodynamic shrouds and arms, redesigned hood mirrors that also increase visibility, new bumper and side fairings, and a newly designed bug deflector that reduces fuel efficiency degradation compared to aftermarket devices.

Volvo Trucks' VN daycab models also now offer a more aerodynamic roof fairing and sun visor.

"The Fuel Enhancement package allows customers to optimize airflow around the cab, eliminating turbulence during the transfer of air to the trailer and improving fuel efficiency," Volvo Trucks product manager Frank Bio said.

Driver performance is a significant component of the fuel efficiency equation, so Volvo Trucks is also offering a new fuel management tool through Volvo Link that provides weekly reports with driver and vehicle data. The fuel management tool also allows fleets to compare their results against similar fleets so they can benchmark their performance. Volvo also rolled out an online driver development program - - focused on equipping drivers with technical knowledge about their Volvo truck, information about Volvo's active safety features, and techniques for maximizing the fuel efficiency performance of their Volvo.

Interior Upgrades

New for 2011 are three redesigned interior options and ten new seat coverings, aimed at increasing comfort and productivity - and attracting and retaining drivers.

"Professional drivers use their truck as a living space, to work, cook, eat, sleep and socialize, so we want to provide contemporary designs that are functional and create a relaxing environment," Bio said. "We gave each trim level a complete overhaul and introduced a softer color pallet with contrasting, multidimensional fabrics to complement our ergonomic cab design."

Volvo Trucks' VN model is now available with new aerodynamic components (top) to improve fuel efficiency and three new interior trim packages (bottom) to enhance the driver environment.

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