Today no fewer than 80% of Volvo's FH trucks are equipped with I-Shift, making this AMT (automated mechanical transmission ) virtually a standard feature.
At its launch in 2001, however, things looked very different. There were already a number of AMTs on the market, all based on manual gearboxes adapted to permit automatic gear-changing. They were often not so reliable, and customers complained.
The first target for Volvo Trucks was to adapt I-Shift for long-distance transport. In 2002, just one year after the system's launch, 14% of all Volvo trucks sold were equipped with I-Shift. In comparison, its predecessor, Geartronic, Volvo Trucks' first AMT, was only fitted to 1% of all trucks sold by the company.
The current third generation I-Shift was launched in 2009. It featured a number of hardware improvements, together with new software that made the transmission suitable for additional, even more demanding assignments. It was now possible, for example, to rock a heavily laden truck free if it was stuck on a dirt road.
In 2011, I-Shift has applications for most types of transport and engines with high torque. This means it also functions in vehicles designed for really heavy-duty, gruelling transport assignments in inaccessible forest conditions and gravel pits, for example. The basic transmission has been further refined and a new front splitter gear has been added, together with a new clutch system. The rear range transmission has also been redesigned and shortened. As a result, the entire transmission has become lighter and more compact. I-Shift therefore now functions together with all axle configurations with the exception of all-wheel drive.
Other advantages of I-Shift are that it changes gears very quickly compared with other systems on the market, there is no need for a clutch pedal, and there is software optimized for different types of driving.
Countries selling the most trucks fitted with I-Shift in 2010: