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Volvo delivers new power, control and protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Volvo Trucks North America made several announcements at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the first of which related to engine options....

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Volvo Trucks North America made several announcements at the Mid-America Trucking Show, the first of which related to engine options.

Volvo VNs will be available later this year with the new 16-litre Volvo D16 engine, announced company officials. (See more about the new D16 in our special engine coverage on page 53.)

The Volvo D16 will be available in the VNL Daycab, the VNL 430, VNL 630, VNL 670 and VNL 780 sleeper cab tractors. Orders for the Volvo VNL with D16 will be accepted beginning in June, with production beginning in late August.

The D16 is also available in the premium owner/operator Volvo VT 880, which was introduced in early February 2005.

Available ratings for the D16 in all Volvo VNL models are:

* 450 hp @ 1650 lb-ft

* 500 hp @ 1650 lb-ft

* 500 hp @ 1850 lb-ft (I-Torque)

* 535 hp @ 1850 lb-ft (I-Torque)

Both the 500 hp @ 1850 lb-ft and 535 hp @ 1850 lb-ft ratings have Volvo’s Intelligent Torque, or I-Torque, torque management system. I-Torque protects drivelines from excessive torque at low speeds.

For the Volvo VNL with D16, I-Torque is designed to extend tire wear and protect drivelines by limiting engine torque output to 1650 lb-ft in startup gears, switching to 1850 lb-ft as speed increases.

Introducing I-Torque

Volvo Trucks North America officials introduced Intelligent Torque at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

I-Torque is a feature of the new Volvo D16 diesel engine. It works by matching torque levels to transmission gear ratios (the ratio of engine RPM to transmission output RPM), to reduce tire wear and to ensure that the drive axle’s torque limit is not exceeded. Torque is multiplied by a truck’s gearing, with low gears multiplying torque more than high gears. I-Torque works on manual or automated transmissions with any number of gears.

I-Torque has either two or three torque levels, depending on the engine’s power rating; the 600 hp/2050 lb-ft and 625 hp/2250 lb-ft ratings have three torque levels. These levels are matched to transmission gear ratios of:

* greater than 5:1 (low-range or startup gears)

* between 2.6:1 and 5:1 (low- to mid-range)

* less than 2.6:1 (high-range and overdrive).

In operation, I-Torque senses which gear is engaged, through sensors on the transmission input shaft and output shaft to calculate the current gear ratio.

Depending on which range the gear ratio falls into, the electronic engine controller will use its programming to control the fuel supply to the engine, and thus its torque output.

Volvo officials also announced Volvo Enhanced Stability Control, an advanced vehicle stability system, will become standard on Volvo VN and Volvo VT trucks in North America beginning this summer.

Volvo Enhanced Stability Control uses Bendix ABS-6 with ESP from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC. Volvo announced in March 2004 that Bendix ABS-6 Advanced would be its standard antilock brake system for its Volvo VN and VHD trucks; it is also the standard antilock brake system for the recently introduced Volvo VT.

ESC standard

The more recent announcement makes the electronic stability features of the ABS-6 Advanced a standard component of new Volvo VNs and Volvo VTs.

“Volvo has been synonymous with vehicle safety for decades, and our trucks are famous around the world for their ability to protect drivers,” said Scott Kress, senior vice-president, sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks North America.

“Today’s announcement continues Volvo’s efforts to move safety technology beyond occupant protection and to focus on crash avoidance. Vehicle safety experts know that the best accident is the one that never happened. Enhanced Stability Control (ESC) is another way that Volvo is using technology to give the driver more control in adverse situations and more ability to avoid accidents,” Kress said.

ESC works by selectively applying the brakes on individual wheel ends, depending on driving conditions, vehicle speed and other inputs from onboard sensors, Kress explained.

This helps the driver reduce speed, keep the vehicle in proper alignment, and in turn reduces the tendency for the truck and trailer to slide or jackknife.

This stability function is known as “yaw” control.

In addition to jackknife situations, yaw control is a safety advantage in situations involving oversteer or understeer, and sudden transitions from dry to slippery surfaces.

Another element of the ESC system monitors inputs from sensors and applies all available brakes on a vehicle to rapidly reduce rollover potential while turning.

Rollovers are an especially dangerous accident for truck drivers, contributing to more than half of truck driver accident fatalities, according to studies.

Rollover stability is a safety advantage in high friction conditions involving curves, sudden lane changes and obstacle avoidance maneuvers.

And last but not least, Volvo introduced the “Platinum Coverage” package for owners of the new Volvo VT 880. The package (an introductory offer applying to Model Year 2006 Volvo VT 880s with D16 engines only) includes: the longest basic warranty in the industry, as well as other extended warranties; enhanced dealer support; free services from Volvo; and special programs for the Volvo D16 engine.

“Volvo wanted to demonstrate its confidence in the new Volvo VT 880 and D16 to owner/operators,” said Matt Kelly, executive director, marketing.

“These customers and their businesses are absolutely dependent on reliable and productive trucks. Since Volvo is entering the premium owner/operator market for the first time, we wanted to show our commitment and dedication to these customers as strongly as possible.

“Platinum Coverage was developed based on our research with owner/operators. These are the things they told us they wanted and needed to go along with their truck. No other ownership package in the industry does as much for the owner/operator as Volvo’s Platinum Coverage does. We want owner/operators to succeed and we want them to become advocates for Volvo.”

Platinum Coverage provides three years/600,000 miles or 10,800 operating hours, whichever comes first.

Other warranty coverage for the Volvo VT 880 includes:

* Cab structure: six years/1,000,000 miles

* Frame rail and crossmembers: six years/750,000 miles

* Internal cab corrosion: eight years/1,000,000 miles

The Volvo D16 engine, when installed in the Volvo VT 880, is also covered for three years/600,000 miles/10,800 operating hours.

The Cummins ISX, which is also available for the Volvo VT 880, is covered for three years/300,000 miles.

Platinum Coverage also includes a towing allowance for the Volvo VT 880 for two years or 250,000 miles, with up to US$450 towing coverage per incidence for failures covered under warranty. In addition to outstanding warranties, Volvo put its technical resources behind its customers. Volvo VT 880 customers will have a dedicated toll-free hotline with direct access to Volvo Action Service (VAS), Volvo’s 24/7-customer support service.

Volvo VT 880 customers are automatically identified as priority customers.

In the event of a breakdown involving a Volvo VT 880, VAS will work with the customer to manage the incident and arrange for service, including towing, if necessary.

There is no charge to Volvo VT 880 customers for using Volvo Action Service for the life of the warranty.

Volvo’s Platinum Coverage also includes dealer support, so dealers can provide the premium level of service demanded by these customers, said company officials. Every Volvo dealer has access to the following resources to keep their customers up and running:

* Swing engines – Volvo will have replacement D16
engines available on short notice to minimize downtime in cases where a truck might otherwise be off the road for an extended period.

* Remote diagnostics – Volvo’s computer technology will put the dealership’s technicians in direct contact with Volvo’s expert technical support, allowing Volvo to monitor engine performance and assist the dealership in diagnosing and troubleshooting the vehicle.

* “Engine Flyer” assistance – Volvo will provide dealers with a dedicated team of technicians to help with any and all warranty repairs.

If necessary, Volvo will dispatch technicians to the dealership where the truck is located.

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