Volvo Trucks North America recently unveiled its new Volvo VNL series semi tractor.
The company says the new series boasts of “cutting-edge innovations in efficiency, productivity, safety and uptime.”
The tractor is available in several configurations, including an all-new, 70-inch sleeper.
The new VNL series was designed and engineered at Volvo Trucks’ North American technology center in Greensboro, N.C., It will be built at Volvo’s New River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., where all Volvo models for the U.S. are assembled.
Volvo engines and transmissions powering each VNL model will be produced at Volvo’s powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Md.
“The new Volvo VNL builds on our long-standing commitment to deliver the safest, most comfortable and most efficient long-haul truck on the market,” Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said in a news release.
On the outside
The new model features swept-back headlights, daytime running lights and a new grille and hood. Redesigned and repositioned engine air intakes allow for less turbulent intake air delivery. Airflow up and around the cab has been optimized, contributing to better fuel efficiency.
“While we wanted the new VNL to make a statement on the road, we knew that it also had to make a statement to our customers’ bottom lines,” said Wade Long, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America.
Behind the wheel
The new trucks feature a series of interior improvements aimed at driver comfort and productivity. Some of those include
• A dashboard that puts often-used controls within the driver’s reach.
• A five-inch color, customizable driver information display that provides trip and diagnostic data.
• An optional infotainment system, featuring a seven-inch color touchscreen, navigation and an exterior back-up camera. A premium audio system is integrated with the infotainment system, which also features Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay.
• A dash-top tray featuring 12-volt power and USB connectivity.
• Volvo’s smart steering wheel, which puts controls for nearly all of the driver interface functions at a driver’s fingertips.
• A wide variety of seating options with available premium features such as seat heating and ventilation.
“We relied on feedback from nearly 2,000 driver interviews to make sure the changes we were making aligned with drivers’ needs,” said Jason Spence, Volvo Trucks product marketing manager – long haul.
The sleeper cab
Four sleeper cab configurations are offered, and a full 70-inch sleeper is available in the 760 and 740 models.
All VNL sleepers feature an integrated reclining bunk, which the company says is a trucking industry first in North America.
For the first time in North America, Volvo’s Globetrotter trim levels will be available on the VNL 760 and VNL 860 sleeper models. The Globetrotter trim levels include a full aerodynamic package, polished wheels and high-end seating, as well as a refrigerator, inverter and parking cooler package.
On the road
The VNL series comes standard with the 13-liter Volvo D13 engine, while Daycab and VNL 400 models can spec the 11-liter Volvo D11 as an option. The 15-liter Cummins X15 is also available.
The Volvo D11 and D13 engines feature Volvo’s patented wave pistons, a unique design that helps burn fuel more efficiently.
The VNL is also available with the Volvo D13 Turbo Compound (D13 TC) engine that uses a mechanical waste heat recovery system to capture wasted energy from the engine’s exhaust. The result is an additional 50 horsepower fed back to the crankshaft and an improvement in fuel efficiency of up to 6.5 percent.
The new design better controls airflow around the truck and its trailer, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. When combined with the efficiency benefits derived from the D13 TC, the new VNL delivers up to a 7.5 percent increase in fuel efficiency when compared to a 2015 VNL model equipped with a GHG 2014 D13 engine.
The series comes standard with Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission. With sensors detecting speed, grade and load, the I-Shift knows when to shift, hold a gear or coast in neutral.
Volvo Active Driver Assist by Bendix, standard on all Volvo VNL models, is a camera and radar-based system that combines forward collision mitigation warnings and active braking, even with stationary vehicles. The system features an industry-first heads up windshield display if a driver approaches too closely to an object in front of them. If no driver action is taken, the system can automatically apply the brakes to help mitigate a collision. Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology, an electronic stability control system, is also standard on all VNL models.