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Volvo expands XE powertrain packages, introduces Adaptive Loading

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Volvo Trucks has expanded its line-up of fuel efficient XE powertrain packages, the company announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The newest XE powertrain package is called the XE super direct drive. The company claims it improves fuel economy by lowering engine rpms at a given vehicle speed. It is designed for linehaul applications with a gross combination weight rating of 80,000 lbs with a maximum engine torque of 1,850 lb.-ft.

“What this does is give the drivability back to the driver,” said Wade Long, director of product marketing, Volvo.

XE super direct drive also incorporates Meritor’s new 2.28 ratio for its 14X tandem drive axle and RPL35 driveline.

The company claims a standard 2.47 rear axle ratio with a direct drive transmission equals 1,370 rpm at 65 mph, whereas the Meritor 2.28 rear axle ratio equals 1,265 rpm at the same speed.

“You can see just in the downspeeding, the 105 rpms from the 2.47 to the 2.28 ratio, that’s 1.5% in fuel-efficiency,” said Long.

This axle ratio ensures that torque is transmitted evenly through the drivetrain.

The XE is currently available in High Torque, Economy, and Adaptive gearing packages to give customers more choice.

“The new XE super direct drive is going to be available in mid-year 2015,” said Long.

Volvo also took time at MATS to introduce its new Adaptive Loading.

“It’s a 6×2 configuration with a forward liftable axle,” explained Long.

The axle automatically adjusts to load weight changes and offers a 4×2 operation under specific conditions. The company claims it is ideal with bulk haul where a truck drives fully loaded and returns back empty. It is also ideal for diminishing load applications.

“For many operations that run empty or lightly loaded much of the time, Adaptive Loading is an innovative way to change the truck’s configuration on the fly for maximum efficiency,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America.

The company claims there are multiple benefits to the product, including improved driver productivity because now, with the push of a button, drivers can raise the tractor’s suspension two inches above ride height and speed up drop-and-hook operation. This means less time at shipper and receiver facilities and more time on the road.

As well, Volvo said it can lower maintenance costs.

“It’s simple,” said Long. “There’s less friction on the ground. When the truck is empty, you lift the axle. When that axle is lifted, we’re not using it, it’s saving tire wear and it’s saving brakes.

Adaptive loading is available in VNL and VNM models up to 90,000 lbs GCW. Canadian customers, however, should check local regulations to verify its legality, since 6x2s are generally prohibited here.

In addition Volvo announced its remote diagnostics service will be expanding in order to monitor fault codes on the I-Shift automated manual transmission because according to the company, “Vehicle uptime is arguably the highest priority for our customers because trucks benefit their owners only if they are moving.”

This service will be available in April 2015.


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2 Comments » for Volvo expands XE powertrain packages, introduces Adaptive Loading
  1. Tom says:

    I have been under the impression that some Provincial governments were considering the 6 x 2 configuration and the benefits it offers. Do you have any information as to what Provinces are allowing and those which don’t? Why does Canada lag behind Europe and the U.S. when it comes to Technologies which can save money for the trucking industry and yet embrace those which don’t? e.g. Emission testing!

  2. James Menzies James Menzies says:

    Hi Tom, This video, at about the 6:30 mark, explains the Canadian regulations in regards to 6x2s:

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