The VNR 660 features a shorter, 164-inch bumper-to back-of-cab length that Volvo said offers...

The VNR 660 features a shorter, 164-inch bumper-to back-of-cab length that Volvo said offers both weight savings from decreasing the overall size of the truck and the option to use more versatile tractor-trailer combinations for increased cargo capacity

Photo: Volvo Trucks North America

Volvo Trucks North America announced an extension to its Class 8 VNR regional-truck lineup at its Oct. 28 press conference at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

The OEM said its new VNR 660 is aimed at truck operations seeking to increase payload capacity while remaining within certain federal or state length and weight restrictions. The new model also boasts a sleeper cab, which VTNA said is a unique feature for truck models designed for regional hauling.

The truck features a shorter, 164-inch bumper-to back-of-cab length that Volvo said offers both weight savings from decreasing the overall size of the truck and the option to use more versatile tractor-trailer combinations for increased cargo capacity. It will be available for order in the first quarter of 2020.

“The new VNR 660 truck model addresses the needs of regional-haul customers looking for ways to increase payloads by decreasing the weight of the vehicle and enabling the use of longer trailer sizes without sacrificing efficiency,” said Chris Stadler, product marketing manager. “This new model also offers the comfort and extra space of a high-roof sleeper, increasing driver comfort.”

The truck’s high-roof configuration combined with its 61-inch sleeper will “comfortably accommodate an extra person for an overnight stop, making it ideal for local and regional routes that utilize team drivers”. There is ample room for a refrigerator, microwave and television with storage above the driver and passenger seats. The VNR 660 will be available with the Volvo Premier Trim package, which includes wood-grain trim for the dash and cabinetry.

Other advantages of the new VNR 660 Volvo noted include the shorter hood design of the VNR product line, providing improved visibility for the driver and excellent maneuverability in urban areas and easy docking in tight spaces. The truck will come standard with the Volvo D11 engine, the Volvo I-Shift transmission, and Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA) 2.0, the recently updated comprehensive collision-mitigation system.

Aerodynamic Option

VTNA also announced it is introducing the FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit, which includes a system of wheel covers and fairings designed for improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, as a factory-installed option starting in the second quarter of 2020.

“The aerodynamics of our trucks have a significant impact on fuel efficiency and our customers’ bottom line,” said Allison Athey, product marketing manager. “The new FlowBelow package offers our customers an enhanced aerodynamic option, providing up to an additional 1% increase in fuel efficiency when combined with our most aerodynamic truck spec including the Xceed fuel efficiency package, and a dry van with trailer skirts, further reducing environmental footprints.”

The FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit is a complete system designed to minimize turbulence and improve aerodynamics by surrounding the drive wheels to better manage the air that moves around the tractor while in motion. The system consists of wheel covers, a center fairing between the wheels and a rear fairing behind the wheels. Volvo noted that these pieces “work together to maintain control of the airflow from end to end, keeping the air running along the side of the truck and around the wheels. The air is then funneled out when it reaches the back of the truck, jumping the gap between truck and trailer.”

The OEM pointed out that FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit also provides a variety of styling options with wheel covers available in black, white and chrome, and fairings available in black and white. The wheel covers and fairings are durable and flexible, enabling them to better withstand road conditions, debris and contaminants while also providing easy access for drivers and mechanics, according to VTNA.

Volvo will begin offering factory-installed FlowBelow wheel covers and fairings separately, as well as the full FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit included with its Xceed fuel efficiency package as a customer option for truck orders in 4x2, 6x2, and 6x4 axle configurations by the end of 2019.

The OEM will also offer factory installation of the FlowBelow system for all VNL and VNR models in Q2 2020.

Making Connections

VTNA also advised that it has hit a milestone by now reaching over 200,000 connected vehicles in North America.  That figure is part of the more than 560,000 connected Volvo trucks now operating globally in the Volvo Trucks family, as well as part of the greater total recently reached of one-million connected assets within Volvo Group operations worldwide.

“Over the past few years, marked improvements in connectivity have driven change and formed real-world opportunities in the trucking industry for safer, smarter and more sustainable operations,” said Ash Makki, product marketing manager. “We are proud to reach this milestone and will continue to expand and grow our connected solutions for our customers while driving the industry towards a more connected future.”

The OEM stated that in the last year alone, it has announced a number of new products and services further enhancing connectivity in its vehicles, including an expansion of its parameter update offerings, its new Dynamic Maintenance service, and most recently, the rollout of Geotab Drive.

Geotab Drive is described as a streamlined FMCSA-compliant electronic logging device. It was developed in partnership with telematics leader provider Geotab. The integrated, cloud-based system provides customers with a seamless solution to monitor and record accurate logs, according to Volvo.

“As we continue to demonstrate our leadership position in connectivity, we strive to offer our customers the most advanced technology as quickly as possible,” said Makki. “As amazing as cutting-edge advancements in connected technology can be, we know our customers will always be the most important factor in driving the industry forward, with the bigger picture in mind.”

About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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