The next generation of over-the-road trucks from Volvo Trucks North America has been designed from the ground up to accommodate the new low-emission diesel engines, according to the company. The new VN, which includes eight medium- and long-nose models, goes into production later this month as the company also begins installation of diesels certified to meet deadlines for stricter EPA emissions requirements.
The next generation VN presents a striking new look as its designers have attempted to wring out every possible aerodynamic advantage, while also providing improved air flow to cool the new engines. The new truck is also 400 lb. lighter than the first VN and 1,500 lb. lighter than Volvo's previous conventional tractor.
The longhaul VNL gets the most obvious aerodynamic styling treatment, with integrated “cat's eye” headlights, a three-piece bumper/airdam, large air intakes mounted on each side of the hood, a new more slippery mirror design, integrated chassis fairings and a repositioned cab to reduce the gap between the tractor and trailer by as much as 12 in.
According to recently completed company tests, the VNL's aerodynamics will reduce or even eliminate the 4%-5% fuel penalty projected for the cleaner diesels depending on application.
Available configurations for the new Volvo are the VNL 300 daycab and integral sleeper VNL 420, 630, 670 and 780 models.
Getting a distinctive look for the first time, the medium-nose VNM for regional and vocational hauling uses a more traditional headlight design, but retains much of the VNL's integral aerodynamics. It is offered in three configurations, including the VNM630 with integral sleeper.
Power options for the VN are the 12-liter Volvo VE with ratings ranging from 365 to 465 hp., and the Cummins 15-liter ISX with ratings ranging from 400 to 565 hp. Both use cooled EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to meet the stricter emissions levels.
The VN's cooling and air-charge systems have also been redesigned to handle the higher temperatures created by the EGR engines.
Other technical highlights of the new VN include an exclusive air-ride front axle, easy access to all service items, color-coded air and electrical lines, optional unitize hubs for both front and drive axles, and a chassis fairing that can be opened and removed by one person.
Drivers will also see a host of new features starting with redesigned interiors with new materials and three new seat options. A new uncluttered dash includes an instrument cluster with integrated messaging center and electronic controls for a new climate control system.
Safety improvements include a new compound headlight system for better nighttime visibility, a new side-mirror design that improves both rearward visibility and forward line of sight, a high-pressure power steering system for improved responsiveness, and both stalk and steering-wheel mounted controls.
Go to www.volvotrucksus.com or circle 300 on reply card