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Volvo adds another natural gas-powered day cab

March 22, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY. Volvo Trucks rolled out a natural gas-powered VNL day cab truck here this morning at the Mid-America Truck Show. The addition to the Volvo line, declared Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing, further solidifies the OEM’s position as a fuel-efficiency leader.

According to Volvo, the VNL day cab offers customers a larger and more robust spec than the natural-gas powered Volvo VNM day cab, which was introduced last year. While the VNM is rated up to 66,000-lbs. GCW and measures 113 in. BBC, the VNL day cab is rated up to 80,000-lbs. GCW and boasts a 123-in. BBC measurement.

The natural gas-powered VNL model will be equipped with a 12L, 400 hp., 1,450 lbs.-ft. torque rated Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine that uses compressed (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) and requires only a three-way catalyst to meet EPA 2010 emissions standards.

Volvo noted it is currently operating natural gas-powered VNL demonstrator trucks, with production set to begin with commercial availability of the 12L gas engine from Cummins Westport.

 “The addition of the Volvo natural gas-powered VNL daycab is just the most recent example of our longstanding commitment to offering products that positively impact the ROI of our customers,” said Huibers. “Developing fuel-efficient technology, whether through natural gas, diesel or hybrid, is a priority for Volvo Trucks. We were the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to offer EPA 2010-certified engines with no credits, and we’ve continued that legacy by focusing our efforts on offering fleets solutions that reduce their fuel costs.”

Volvo also showed off “Mean Green,” a world speed record-setting diesel hybrid truck developed using Volvo Group’s hybrid driveline technology. It was built off a Volvo VN frame and aerodynamically sculpted cab and is loaded for bear with a very juiced up 1,900-hp. Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s 200-hp. electric motor. In total, Mean Green pumps out 2,100 hp. and nearly 5,000 lbs.-ft. of torque.

“The result is a lightning-speed boost from startoff without any of the customary diesel-engine delay,” said Boije Ovebrink, Mean Green’s owner and driver. “It's like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with explosive force.”

Mean Green will seek to reach speeds in excess of 260 km/h (165 mph) at Wendover Airfield in Utah on April 27 to best its own world speed records, noted Volvo.

“Volvo has the engineers, technology and global support that result in solutions that strengthen the value of ownership for our customers,” Huibers pointed out. “This is evidenced not only by the VNL day cab and Mean Green, but also by our I-Shift automated manual transmission and award-winning, fuel-efficient XE13 powertrain package.”

He noted that the integrated XE13 powertrain package is available for Volvo VN series tractors and improves fuel efficiency by about 3% by lowering engine rpms at a given vehicle speed, a concept Volvo calls “downspeeding.” The XE13 package includes the I-Shift transmission, the Volvo D13 engine and proprietary software.

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