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Testing shows Volvo Trucks’ 2014 engines delivering up to 3% fuel efficiency improvement over 2013 models

Volvo Trucks’ 2014 heavy-duty engines are providing greater fuel efficiency than anticipated, delivering up to a 3% fuel efficiency improvement compared with their 2013 counterparts, according to the company. A combination of in-lab and on-road testing showed that the initially announced fuel efficiency figures of up to 2% understated actual fuel savings.

We remain focused on ensuring that the ongoing phases of engine and vehicle regulations do not burden our customers, but instead create value for their operations. Introduction of our SCR-equipped models yielded a 5 percent fuel efficiency increase, and we’re pleased to announce that our 2014 engine lineup is delivering up to an additional 3 percent savings.

Fuel efficiency remains top-of-mind across the industry, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that will deliver massive improvements. Every drop counts. On average, a 1 percent fuel efficiency improvement amounts to annual savings of more than $650 per truck. Carriers ignoring opportunities for incremental fuel efficiency gains are leaving money on the table.

—Göran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing

Refinements and design changes contributing to fuel efficiency improvements in Volvo’s 2014 D11, D13 and D16 engines include:

  • Low-friction cylinder improvements, including a redesigned piston, liner and oil scraper ring developed with smoother surfaces;

  • A clutched air compressor, which reduces engine load by completely disengaging the clutch from the engine when not in use;

  • Advanced combustion technology of a new seven-hole injector, which offers better fuel atomization for a more even distribution of fuel within the cylinder, maximizing fuel efficiency; and

  • An improved crankcase ventilation system, which filters more oil from blowby gases before they leave the engine and at the same time improves engine backpressure for better performance.

Along with fuel efficiency improvements, a two-piece valve cover on the D13 engine improves serviceability, which helps reduce repair time and is easier to handle than previous covers. Volvo also removed lead from the valvetrain of its 2014 engines to reduce its environmental impact.

In addition to the fuel efficiency gains delivered with 2014 Volvo engine technology, Volvo Trucks’ XE (exceptional efficiency) powertrain package boosts fuel efficiency by up to an additional 3%. Available on Volvo VNM and VNL models equipped with 2014 Volvo engines, the XE11 (405 hp, 1,550 lb-ft torque); XE13 (425 and 455 hp, 1,750 lb-ft torque); and XE16 (500 hp, 2,050 lb-ft torque) packages improve fuel efficiency by lowering engine rpm at a given vehicle speed—i.e., “downspeeding.”

Possible through the combination of Volvo’s standard I-Shift automated manual transmission and Volvo engine with modified software, XE allows the engine to cruise at about 200 rpm less than the average truck sold today.

Fuel efficiency improves by about 1.5% for every 100 rpm of downspeeding, so customers spec’ing the XE package can expect up to a 3% improvement when compared with another overdrive transmission in a similar operation, the company suggested. Demand for XE powertrain packages has grown each year since the initial introduction of XE13 for the D13 engine in September 2011.

The XE11 package, the newest (February 2014) is also the most fuel-efficient Volvo powertrain, Nyberg said.

In 2013, about 87 percent of all Volvo trucks invoiced in the US and Canada were specified with a Volvo engine. Of that population, 23% featured XE powertrain packages.



3% is VERY MUCH in an application where fuel consumption is an important factor. In the past, we saw a yearly improvement by ~0.5% but virtually nothing during the last 20 years, when exhaust emissions has been top priority.


I was at the recent ConExpo in Las Vegas (Construction equipment exposition) and talked to CAT, Deere, Volvo, Cummins, MTU, JCB about emission technology and efficiency. As best I could tell, running SCR which uses urea injection for NOX control instead of using cooled EGR allowed higher combustion temperature and therefore higher efficiency. Everyone seemed to have a slightly different story but everyone was claiming higher efficiency. The new Tier 4 final engines are quite clean and may even clean the air in certain polluted conditions.

Jim McLaughlin

Selective Catalytic Reduction was added by most on-road truck OEMs selling in North America in 2010, yielding a significant fuel economy improvement and reduced (or eliminated) regeneration of the particulate filter. However, EGR was not abandoned as it was in Euro V, there is a mix of SCR (with urea injection to generate ammonia) and EGR in US10 spec diesel engines. This gives much lower emissions in stop and go driving than the SCR only solution of Euro V, which was actually worse than Euro IV in most urban drive cycles for NOx emissions. (Euro VI fixes this, and is very similar to US10 regulations.)

Today, all North American diesel trucks use SCR, as International gave up on its Massive-EGR strategy, which had problems with heat rejection and never did meet US10 targets for NOx.

Some agricultural diesels use higher urea injection rates than on-road trucks and get even more dramatic fuel economy improvements, which is a good trade-off since urea is cheaper than diesel. But regulations still require the urea tank to last twice the distance as the diesel tank, even though urea (called DEF in the US) is now ubiquitous. Perhaps this will change soon, and give another bump in MPG.

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