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Volvo Trucks unveils new powertrains featuring increased power and 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency

Volvo Trucks North America launched several new integrated powertrain solutions, offering increased fuel efficiency, productivity, reliability, packaging, comfort and uptime. Volvo’s new powertrain offerings include multiple engine enhancements, such as turbo compounding for the Volvo D13 engine; the introduction of Volvo I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission; and a one-box Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS).

As a result of the improvements, Volvo is delivering between 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency with the 2017 engines compared with the previous generation.

Volvo engine enhancements. For the first time in North America, Volvo’s 2017 D13 engine will be available with turbo compounding, a technology that recovers wasted exhaust heat and converts it to useable mechanical energy that is transferred back into the engine. The result of this recovered energy is up to a 6.5% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with previous engine models. Applications that benefit most from turbo compounding include long-haul, steady-state driving.

In another first, Volvo’s XE—eXceptional Efficiency—powertrain package with the D13 turbo compounding engine will be available to customers desiring to run in top gear in states and provinces that have 55 mph (89 km/h) speed limits. Through downspeeding, XE allows the engine to cruise at up to 300 rpm less than the average truck sold today—significantly improving fuel efficiency. More than 27% of all Volvo models sold in 2015 featured an XE package.

Volvo’s 2017 11-liter D11 engine and the 2017 D13 both received numerous updates designed to improve fuel efficiency. An updated EGR flow sensor has a new double-wall casing that reduces condensation and soot buildup in cold weather, preventing downtime. A low-pressure fuel system features an improved aftertreatment dosing module that is integrated into the fuel filter housing for easier serviceability.

Upgrades to the two-speed coolant pump for both engines also improve fuel efficiency as a result of reduced parasitic losses. The new intake throttle enables a faster warmup when the engine is started.

The 2017 Volvo D11 offers up to 425 hp (317 kW) and 1,550 lb-ft (2,102 N·m) of torque, an increase of 20 horsepower. The engine also delivers up to a 2.2% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the previous D11 engine. With the right blend of power and a lighter weight, the D11 is suited for regional, less than truckload (LTL) and pickup-and-delivery applications. The D11 is available in Volvo VN daycabs, VNM 430 and VNL 430 sleeper models, VAH and VHD models.

The 2017 Volvo D13 features a new wave piston, which increases the compression ratio and maximizes fuel efficiency. Improved flame propagation reduces soot, while also increasing cylinder efficiency. The updated D13, available in the Volvo VN, VHD and VAH models, offers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 2.5% compared to the previous D13. These engine enhancements were also included in the 2017 Volvo D13 with turbo compounding.

The 16-liter Volvo D16, the largest engine in its class, offers power and reliability for hauling heavy loads, with horsepower ranging from 500 to 600 (373 to 447 kW), with 1,650 lb-ft (2,237 N·m) to 2,050 lb-ft (2,779 N·m) of torque. Available in the VNL and VNX models, the D16 is suited for line-haul and heavy-haul operations.

Volvo I-Shift with Crawler Gears. Offering vocational and highway customers improved startability and maneuverability, Volvo today launched the I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission (AMT). Designed with crawler functionality and startability, I-Shift with Crawler Gears is ideal for applications requiring a slow speed and maneuverability—applications such as concrete mixers with curb-pouring capability, asphalt paving, spreaders, dump trucks, heavy haul and line painters. The I-Shift with Crawler Gears also ensures startability for heavy haul and up to 220,000 lbs. GCW or more with application approval.

I-Shift with Crawler Gears will be available in two versions:

  • 14 forward gears, including one low crawler gear (19.38 gear ratio) and one ultra-low crawler gear (32.04 gear ratio), which can operate down to 0.6 mph with 3.58 rear axle ratio

  • 13 forward gears, including one low crawler gear (17.54 ratio).

Available as an overdrive in Volvo VHD, VNX, VNM and VNL models, the I-Shift with Crawler Gears can be spec’d with Volvo D11, D13 and D16 engines.

In addition, all I-Shift models, spec’d in a record 83% of Volvo-powered vehicles in 2015, received revised hardware for increased durability, including an upgraded countershaft for faster shifting and improved performance.

Volvo I-See. I-Shift efficiency also received a boost from the Volvo I-See system, which works in tandem with the I-Shift transmission. I-See is a new feature which learns the topography of the road, memorizes it and stores it in the transmission for use the next time the driver travels the routes. The system stores up to 4,500 different hills.

The built-in electronics constantly monitor factors such as road grade, speed, weight and engine load to help maintain the most efficient gear possible. When the truck is operational, it automatically uses its knowledge to save fuel during the driving cycle. It optimizes gear shifting on rolling hills and hilly terrain. I-See handles hills efficiently by building speed before the hill, then curbs speed before the crest, Eco-Rolling down the hill and engine braking if necessary.

I-Shift is a key component to Volvo’s XE powertrain package. The inclusion of the new I-Shift with Crawler Gears in the XE Adaptive Gearing package expands the capabilities of XE from 80,000 lbs. up to 110,000 lbs. GCW as the low gear ratios maintain startability and enhance slow speed performance on softer ground.

One-box exhaust aftertreatment system. Volvo also introduced a new one-box exhaust aftertreatment system (EATS) that combines the diesel particulate filter (DPF) with the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and diesel exhaust fluid doser into a single unit. The system also features a new copper-zeolite coating that improves low-temperature NOx conversion for improved emissions.

The new design configuration results in better thermal performance for improved efficiency, smaller packaging requirements and an approximately 17-pound (7.7 kg) weight reduction compared with the two-box unit. This provides additional frame rail space for added packaging flexibility.

The new one-box EATS will be standard on the D11- and D13-equipped powertrains. The two-box solution will remain on the D16.

Vehicle uptime through remote diagnostics. Volvo is dedicated to ensuring new technology helps maximize time on the road through Volvo Remote Diagnostics. Remote Diagnostics is a telematics-based proactive diagnostic and repair planning system that monitors critical engine and I-Shift fault codes.

When an issue is detected, the system identifies what parts will be needed and provides technicians with straightforward repair instruction—even before the truck arrives for service. Remote Diagnostics can reduce the diagnostic time by up to 70% and lower repair time by more than 20%.

Remote Diagnostics has been standard on all Volvo-powered models since 2013. Remote Diagnostics is a central component of Volvo’s uptime services, which also include 24/7 support, Volvo Action Service, and ASIST, Volvo’s service management platform.



When electric motors finally break the diesel lock on long haul trucks, EVs will be prolific. EBs(electric buses) are currently displacing diesels and cng buses in cities, even on routes that total 150 miles a day on one charge. The next easy target is trash trucks and short haul shipping port haulers. Why replace diesel trucks with EBs? Easy question; they are six time mores efficient and that translates to savings.

Jens Stubbe

Batteries are great for busses that are much lighter and travel shorter distances at lower speeds and with a lot of breaking with associated power recycling and a lot of stops where power can be added wirelessly.

At 447kW for the biggest engine Volvo launch here the largest Tesla battery yet fitted to their commercial line of cars will be exhausted after less than a quarter of an hour at full power and perhaps after an hour of standard operation.

Your assessment of efficiency is simply off the chart wrong.

Volvo engines of the sort that are written about in the article are plus 40% efficient and no electric engine is plus 240% efficient.

The currently most efficient ICE's are 60% efficient.

If you factor in the weight increase to carry a useful size battery and the needed frequent shift of used up batteries with associated energy usage for production and recycling of batteries then I seriously doubt there is worthwhile difference in energy efficiency left. Add to that the required charging infrastructure and associated cycle losses and the concept is simply doomed unless it is subsidized heavily.

The best way to make the global fleet of trucks emission free is by producing Synfuels based upon excess renewable electricity and excess CO2 and run the trucks on that.

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