Truck Driver News - Volvo Reconceptualizes VNL Class 8 with Future Tech in Mind

Volvo Reconceptualizes VNL Class 8 with Future Tech in Mind

Introduction

In the ever-evolving world of commercial trucking, innovation is the name of the game. For truck drivers who rely on their rigs day in and day out, any improvement in their vehicles is more than just a matter of convenience—it’s a matter of livelihood. That’s where Volvo’s all-new VNL Class 8 tractor comes into play, promising to be a game-changer in the industry.

With an investment of over $400 million in its design, Volvo Trucks North America introduced the “reimagined” VNL Class 8 tractor in a virtual event on January 23. Peter Voorhoeve, President of Volvo Trucks North America, proudly described this new truck as a radical shift that aims to enhance customer value, driver productivity, safety, and sustainability.

One of the key highlights of the new VNL is its highly aerodynamic design, which is engineered to deliver up to a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to its predecessor. While a new truck is always exciting news for truck drivers, this one comes with a promise of being much more than just a new model; it’s the foundation for future truck technologies.

Fleet Sustainability Takes Center Stage

Volvo’s engineers embarked on the VNL project with a blank slate, analyzing industry trends and transformations. Their focus was clear: sustainability and future transportation demands. According to Voorhoeve, this focus is deeply rooted in the VNL’s history of setting new standards.

From the unconventional aerodynamics of the first-generation Volvo VN in 1996 to the introduction of the I-Shift in North America in 2007, Volvo has always been at the forefront of industry innovation. And with the all-new VNL, they intend to continue this tradition by introducing innovations that will shape the future of trucking for years to come.

The VNL as a Platform for All Technologies

What’s particularly intriguing about the new VNL is its role as a platform for all of Volvo’s upcoming technologies. This includes battery-electric, fuel cell, and internal combustion engines running on renewable fuels like hydrogen.

The truck features a 24-volt electrical infrastructure, a first for the North American trucking industry. This innovation helps minimize battery and electrical failures, making it easier to pinpoint and repair electrical issues. Johan Agebrand, Director of Product Marketing at Volvo Trucks North America, explained that while the industry has traditionally relied on 12-volt systems, the shift to 24-volt systems allows for smaller, more reliable components.

Additionally, the truck is designed with specific systems and locations under the hood to aid in jumpstarting with a 12-volt vehicle, providing flexibility for drivers in various situations.

Safety Features Leading to Autonomous Trucks

Safety has always been a top priority for Volvo, and the new VNL is no exception. It features a range of active safety systems that are set to become the standard for future autonomous trucks. These systems include Volvo Active Driver Assist Plus with Pilot Assist, providing active lane centering assistance, and pedestrian detection that alerts the driver and activates automatic emergency braking when necessary.

Passive safety features are also part of the package, with bonded and wrapped windshields, side-curtain airbags, and a high-strength steel cab designed to deflect crash energy away from the driver.

Driver-Centric Design

Volvo understands that a truck is not just a tool; it’s a home away from home for truck drivers. That’s why they’ve evaluated every detail of the driver experience in the new VNL.

The cab and sleeper have been redesigned with optional amenities like a folding bunk for easy access to the dinette space, upgraded insulation for climate control and noise reduction, a larger refrigerator, and ample power options to support devices. The optional air suspension system, called Global Rear Air Suspension (GRAS), enhances ride quality and stability, reducing driver fatigue.

Volvo’s idle management tool and Parking Cooler are innovations aimed at reducing emissions, engine wear, and fuel costs while enhancing driver comfort during rest breaks.

A Connected Truck with Integrated Digital Solutions

In the digital age, connectivity is paramount. Volvo’s fleet management portal, Volvo Connect, plays a crucial role in integrating various digital services that fleets rely on. It offers vehicle data insights, diagnostics, remote programming, fuel economy reports, safety reports, and location services.

With the MyTruck app, drivers can stay connected to their trucks, receiving vital information about fuel levels, maintenance needs, and more. They can even schedule climate control to ensure a comfortable cabin when they start their workday.

The Blue Service Contract is another option that leverages connected services to boost uptime and efficiency. Dealers have real-time data on maintenance needs and can perform remote programming updates, reducing unplanned downtime.

A New Option Packaging Process

Volvo Trucks has introduced a new spec’ing process for the VNL series, simplifying and optimizing the configuration and ordering process for customers. They can select from various powertrain and safety packages to suit their specific needs, ensuring the right technology to protect drivers, others on the road, and the cargo they haul.

Multiple Cab Configurations

The new Volvo VNL is available in six cab configurations, providing flexibility for different preferences, brand identities, and operational uses. Whether you need a day cab or a full-height sleeper, there’s a VNL for you.

Made in North America

One aspect that Volvo takes great pride in is the fact that the VNL was designed and will be built in North America. This speaks to their commitment to the region and their dedication to delivering solutions that meet the unique needs of North American truck drivers.

In Conclusion

The all-new Volvo VNL Class 8 tractor is not just a truck; it’s a statement of Volvo’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the well-being of truck drivers. With its focus on fuel efficiency, safety, driver-centric design, and connectivity, the VNL is poised to reshape the trucking industry for years to come.

So, commercial truck drivers, take note—exciting times are ahead, and the road is about to get a whole lot better. The Volvo VNL is leading the way to a brighter and more efficient future in trucking.

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