Volvo Trucks North America recently delivered the 100,000th truck equipped with its I-Shift automated manual transmission (AMT). The truck, a Volvo VNL 670 model, was presented to Watkins & Shepard Trucking during a brief reception at Transport Equipment, a Volvo Trucks dealer in Missoula, MT.
Originally introduced in Europe in 2001, Volvo has sold more than 575,000 I-Shifts globally, the company said. “In 2007, Volvo introduced the I-Shift in North America, becoming the first truck OEM to bring an integrated AMT to the market. Volvo made the I-Shift standard on all Volvo-powered models in 2013. In 2015, I-Shift penetration in North America reached a record 83 percent,” the company said.
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“When we first introduced the I-Shift, many said that it would not be successful in this market,” said Göran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “Yet thanks to the significant efficiency, performance and productivity benefits the I-Shift delivers to our customers, we’re celebrating the delivery of the 100,000th I-Shift-equipped truck.”
Driver Rick Candler was selected by Watkins & Shepard CEO Ray Kuntz and President Walt Ainsworth to receive the VNL 670 model, in part due to his nearly 28 years of service with the company. Several company leaders were on hand as the keys were presented to Candler, including Ainsworth and Dwayne Hill, maintenance manager. The truck was customized with Candler’s name on the driver’s door, a hand-painted decal recognizing its significance and a one-of-a-kind custom silver shifter.
“We are honored to accept delivery of the 100,000th I-Shift-equipped truck,” Ainsworth said. “In addition to the efficiency and productivity gains we’ve seen, we’re also finding that the I-Shift makes it easier to hire, train and retain drivers.”
The I-Shift is also the enabling component of Volvo’s XE – eXceptional Efficiency – powertrain packages, which help improve fuel efficiency by lowering engine cruise rpm, according to the company. “Downspeeding” allows XE-package-equipped trucks to reduce engine rpm at cruising speeds by 200 rpm or more, providing drivers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 3%, the company added.