Volvo Trucks offers a very unique 6x2 tractor platform, where the rear axle does the driving while the forward axle in the tandem group goes along for the ride.
Sometimes called a "pusher" or "dead axle," this axle is anything but dead. It's part of a traction management system called Adaptive Loading, that allows the axle to be lifted completely off the ground when it's not needed, providing additional fuel savings over the straight 6x2 setup. It's also said to reduce tire wear, and because of Volvo's proprietary Biased Loading strategy, traction on the drive axle is considerably improved.
In our latest Focus On video, Equipment Editor Jim Park explains how Adaptive Loading works, and interviews one of the first fleets in North America to use the system. To hear Gene Brice, co-owner of Idaho Milk Transport talk about it, you'd think he's found the goose that laid the golden egg.
Brice's fleet is ideally suited for Adaptive Loading. It's a liquid bulk fleet and so very weight sensitive. Brice gains by having a 6x2 with its reduced weight, but he also wins the tire wear and traction war by being able to lift the unneeded axle when the trucks are running empty.