With its new Volvo FH series, Volvo Trucks is ‘pushing the envelope’ in re-defining what a premium truck can offer. Fuel economy, reliability, ergonomics, superior handling, active and passive safety, and time-saving features - the Volvo FH is a truck built with the driver in mind and with the focus on improving the operator’s profitability.
There is no doubt that fuel economy is one of the highest priorities for logistic providers today, so naturally it was a major priority during the development of the new Volvo FH. The already fuel-efficient Euro-5 driveline is now even more economical, but at the same time, Volvo's first Euro-6 engine sees the light of day, significantly reducing emissions.
Moreover, the new I-See function makes it possible to cut fuel consumption still further - by up to 5 per cent. In addition autumn 2013 will see a new driveline being launched - Volvo I-Torque - setting a new technological benchmark and delivering even lower fuel consumption and further improved driveability: features that will benefit both operator and driver.
I-See cuts fuel consumption on hills
I-See is an example of technology that makes life easier for the driver and saves fuel.
"I-See is a software package for the I-Shift automated transmission whereby it stores information about the route as the truck drives along. So, the next time the truck uses the same route, I-See operates the accelerator, gears and brakes to ensure that progress is as economical as possible," explains Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Truck Corporation.
"Thanks to I-See the operator can cut fuel consumption by up to 5 per cent per vehicle," he continues.
An additional fuel saving of up to 5 per cent is possible with Volvo Trucks' new Fuel Package. This package encompasses training and monthly assistance - Fuel Advice - and its aim is to cut fuel costs by changing driving styles and increasing knowledge of how to drive for maximum fuel-efficiency.
Efficient new driveline with the new Euro 6
With Volvo Trucks' new I-Torque Euro-6 driveline - production of which for the European market will get under way in autumn 2013 - the savings are even greater.
"Volvo I-Torque reduces fuel consumption by up to 4 per cent. Together with I-See and other minor improvements, the result is that fuel consumption can drop by up to 10 per cent. For the average truck, this can equate to a saving of up to 4,100 litres of fuel a year," comments Claes Nilsson.
Wireless connection maximises uptime
A truck is only profitable when it is working, so Volvo now offers maximum uptime. This promise is based on Volvo Trucks' new technology for remotely monitoring component wear and the vehicle's overall condition.
"The workshop can now remotely check the actual wear of various truck components via the computer. As a component approaches the end of its service life, the workshop can then get in touch with the operator well in advance and schedule a service when it is most convenient," explains Claes Nilsson.
Superior handling in the truck world
You don't need to read the manual to discover that the new Volvo FH represents a major step forward. It's enough just to get behind the wheel.
"The new Volvo FH offers exceptional handling - pretty much like a car. To put things into perspective, we can even offer independent front suspension, although initially only on left-hand drive vehicles. This world-first takes handling to unsurpassed levels in the truck world," says Claes Nilsson.
An entirely new truck
Superior handling is a major benefit, but when Volvo Trucks unveils an entirely new Volvo FH series, there are many new features in other areas too.
"The Volvo FH series represents a paradigm shift. This becomes evident for instance when you look at how we use remote online communication to connect the truck directly to the workshop," says Claes Nilsson.
New technology further increases onboard safety, creates a more economical driveline and transmission and is used to keep uptime at high levels.
"Having said all that, we haven't just packed in technology for the sake of it. In order to reap the full benefits of innovative technology, it's important that the people using it know how to use it and actually do so. That's why we've worked hard to develop a truck that puts the driver firmly in focus," explains Claes Nilsson.
Ergonomically-designed and intuitive to use
The driver's work-place is a good example of this focus. From the improved driver's seat, the driver has a better view of the road, not least owing to the increase in the cab's usable window area and to the innovative rear-view mirror design.
Stalks and controls are arranged in priority so that the most important ones are now closest to the driver. All in all, these various changes give the driver far better visibility.
The driving position is also better and offers greater flexibility. For instance, the steering wheel now has a neck tilt function, a world-first in the truck world. A better driving position means the driver is less likely to get tired - and of course an alert driver does a better job.
Safety in a variety of ways
An all-new cab structure makes the new Volvo FH an even safer truck than before. In fact, never before has a Volvo truck passed the comprehensive collision tests as well as the new FH cab.
The improved visibility, not least thanks to the slimmer rear-view mirrors, also contributes to the safer work environment.
More upright A-pillars have now given the cab an additional one cubic metre of interior space. This means an extra 300 litres (10.5 cu ft) of storage capacity, as well as greater comfort on board.
"The cab is optimised both for work and leisure time. A better bed, integrated parking cooler, new lighting and low noise levels amongst other features, all increase the chance of pleasant relaxation and a good night's sleep, which in turn means drivers are less tired and more alert," says Claes Nilsson.
Attracting the best drivers
Good drivers who have the opportunity to work as efficiently as possible increase an operator's profitability. A truck built for the driver also improves the company's ability to attract the very best drivers.
"There's already immensely strong competition for good drivers throughout Europe and that competition is going to get even tougher. Because of this, I'm convinced that trucks which are popular among drivers will push them to apply for jobs with haulage companies that operate these models," says Claes Nilsson, "That is why the new Volvo FH should increase an operator's profitability in many different ways in the future."
Production of the Volvo FH will start in spring 2013 for the European market.