Heavy duty driver focus in new Volvo range

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

FH, FH16, FM and FMX offerings aim to aid recruitment and retention with safety and comfort

Volvo-new-truck-range
The new line-up

Driver comfort and safety along with lower emissions are the pitch for Volvo Truck’s new range of heavy-duty trucks, the big Swede emphasises.

After another spectacular pre-launch video marketing stunt, the company put the latest iterations of the FH, FH16, FM and FMX officially on display.

"We are really proud of this big forward-looking investment," Volvo Trucks president Roger Alm says.

"Our aim is to be our customers’ best business partner by making them even more competitive and help them attract the best drivers in an increasingly tough market."

The company points to the global shortage of skilled drivers and quotes estimates that around 20 per cent of all driver jobs are vacant – this being the impetus for making the new range safer, more efficient and more attractive working tools for qualified drivers.

"Drivers who handle their truck safely and efficiently are an invaluable asset to any transport company," Alm says.

"Responsible driving behaviour can help reduce CO2 emissions and fuel costs, as well as helping reduce the risk of accidents, injury and unplanned downtime.

"Our new trucks will help drivers work even more safely and productively and give our customers stronger arguments when competing to attract the best drivers."

Cab boost

Thus, FM and FMX get a new cab including many of the same instrument display functions as larger Volvos.

Their interior volume has been increased by up to 1 cubic metre while larger windows, a lowered door line and new mirrors aim to improve visibility.

The new cab has reinforced insulation against cold, heat and noise, and a sensor-controlled climate unit with a carbon filter promotes good air quality in all conditions.

The steering wheel gains a neck tilt function and the lower bed in the sleeper cab is positioned higher up than before, creating additional storage space beneath.  

The driver's area now has a completely new interface for information and communication, aimed at making it easier to view and manage different functions, in an effort to reduce stress and distraction.

The instrument display is fully digital, with a 12-inch screen that makes it easy for the driver to choose the information needed at any time.

Within easy reach of the driver there is a supplementary 9-inch side display available for infotainment, navigation, transport information and camera monitoring. The functions can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control, or on the touchscreen and display control panel.

"Easy access to a variety of information increases the driver’s ability to perform more efficiently, safely and comfortably," chief designer for user experience and human machine interaction Carin Larsson says.

"The presentation of information has improved significantly with the new displays. Demanding interactions are now concentrated on the side display, which is placed within easy reach of the driver’s seat.

"Distractions are therefore minimized as key driving information is shown clearly on the user-friendly and easily-viewable instrument display."

Safety features

FH and FH16 take on adaptive high beam headlights.

"The system improves safety for all road users by automatically disabling selected segments of the LED high beam when the truck approaches oncoming traffic or another vehicle from behind," Volvo says of what it hails as a manufacturer first.

The range has an improved Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) for speeds down to 0 km/h and downhill cruise control that automatically activates the wheel brakes when extra brake force is needed to maintain constant downhill speed.

The Electronic Brake System (EBS), a prerequisite for safety features such as Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control, now comes as standard.

Volvo Dynamic Steering, with Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Assist, is available as an option.

A road sign recognition system detects road traffic signs, such as overtaking restrictions, road type and speed limits, and displays them in the instrument display.

There is also an option of a passenger corner camera for a complementary view of the side of the truck on the side display.

Engines and alternative drivelines

Volvo looks to have propulsion flexibility, "since different transport segments and assignments will require a variety of solutions".

So, "with several types of drivelines will continue to exist in parallel for the foreseeable future", gas, biogas and diesel are catered for.

"The new Volvo FH can also be tailored with a new efficient Euro 6 diesel engine, which is included in the I-Save package that enables significant fuel and CO2 savings," Volvo says.

"In long-haul operations for instance, the new Volvo FH with I-Save combines the new D13TC engine with a package of features and can deliver fuel savings up to 7 per cent.

"There have also been improvements for the Euro 3 and 5 versions with features like Volvo Torque Assist.

"The fuel improvement claim is calculated by comparing costs of diesel and AdBlue for D13TC Euro 6 step D with the Long Haul Fuel Package (I-Save) to D13 eSCR Euro 6 step D without the Long Haul Fuel Package.

"Actual fuel economy may vary depending on many factors such as the driver’s experience, use of cruise control, vehicle specification, vehicle load, actual topography, vehicle maintenance, and weather conditions."

 

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