HOGA KUSTEN, Sweden (June 6, 2003) — The European FH16 from Volvo Truck Corporation has just undergone an extensive upgrade focusing on power, safety and exclusivity. Originally launched in late 2001, and already one of the most popular trucks in Europe, the new FH16 now boasts the most powerful engine in its class, more safety features than any other truck on the market, and a very enticing driver environment.
The FH16, the product of two years of engineering and research, features a new Adoptive Cruise Control (ACC) system designed to help drivers maintain their space cushion on Europe’s busy highways. ACC uses Doppler radar to determine distances, and alters the truck’s road speed to maintain adequate distance. The electronics manage throttle input and engine brake engagement to slow the truck when necessary.
The heart of the new FH is the 610-hp D16C engine. It is totally integration into all vehicle systems, allowing for electronic control of all aspects of the truck’s operation, including brake application.
Among the new safety features is a hill starting aid where the driver applies the electronically controlled air brakes (EBS, or brake-by-wire has been in place in Europe for several years now) before attempting to start on a steep grade, then applies throttle and engages the clutch, letting the truck manage the release of the brakes, preventing roll-backs, while allowing the driver to focus on smooth clutch engagement.
The EBS system has also been upgraded to provide roll-over protection by sensing a potential roll-over then applying individual wheel brakes to re-establish stability.
“The FH16 is a truck designed for the toughest of assignments,” explains Jorma Halonen, President of Volvo Trucks. “However, I believe that in the future we will also see higher gross vehicle weights and extended vehicle lengths in the ongoing bid to improve road haulage efficiency in Europe – and that is when powerful trucks will come into their own.”
Goods haulage by road is expected to increase by 38 percent between 1998 and 2010, according to the EU commission. By increasing the vehicle length restrictions from 18.75 meters to 25.25 meters, and allowing gross weights of 60 tonnes (up from 40 tonnes) throughout the EU, the increase in the number of trucks on the roads would be greatly limited. Volvo Truck Corporation is positioning the FH16 as truck ready to take on the challenge. Currently, only Finland and Sweden permit the longer, heavier trucks.
The cab features two single bunks for team operation (one above the other), an integrated cellular telephone with a boom microphone built in the sidewall for hands-free operation, a synchronized 6-speed transmission, with a high/low splitter in each gear, air-ride cab and chassis suspension for a terrifically smooth ride, and colour schemes that are both pleasing to the eye and conducive to lowering driver stress.
It will be available in a short wheelbase single-axle tractor configuration as well as a single axle with a pusher axle, and a long wheelbase truck chassis with single or tandem drive axles.
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