Volvo’s Adaptive Loading

Jim Park

Volvo Trucks offers a very unique 6×2 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 6×2 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.

This video explains how Adaptive Loading works, and features an interview with 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 6×2 with its reduced weight, but he also win the tire wear and traction war by being able to lift the unneeded axle when the trucks are running empty.

Once you’ve watched this one, make sure you also check out our video report on Volvo’s Adaptive Gearing system to see what it might do for you.

Jim Park

Jim Park was a CDL driver and owner-operator from 1978 until 1998, when he began his second career as a trucking journalist. During that career transition, he hosted an overnight radio show on a Hamilton, Ontario radio station and later went on to anchor the trucking news in SiriusXM's Road Dog Trucking channel. Jim is a regular contributor to Today's Trucking and, and produces Focus On and On the Spot test drive videos.

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