Kevin Jones | FleetOwner
VTNA's Magnus Gustafson, VP, connected services, highlights the advantages of improved connectivity with the new Volvo VNL.

Connectivity among new Volvo VNL advantages

March 6, 2024
Increased uptime delivered by data-based maintenance and key product design elements

NEW ORLEANS—Touting the recently launched Volvo VNL as “the most connected truck ever built by Volvo,” Volvo Trucks North America representatives detailed a range of benefits that enhanced connectivity will bring to customers—including annual savings of up to $3,400, based on improved uptime. 

The new Volvo VNL made its public debut this week in VTNA's display at the American Trucking Associations Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition here.

Customers will experience increased uptime through even more accurate, data-based maintenance and key product design elements targeted to save fleets time and money, explained Magnus Gustafson, VP of connected services, during a press briefing.

See also: Volvo shows off how all-new VNL is designed to make fleets more green

“Leveraging our connected services such as remote diagnostics and remote programming, we have seen a reduction of up to 24% of unplanned stops through actionable insights to ensure that we don't take trucks out of service for items that can be handled during normal maintenance windows,” Gustafson said. “The entire truck is now capable of being updated remotely. Furthermore, we have decreased programming times, and we have made improvements to our remote diagnostics service, which is even more accurate than it has ever been before.”

Likewise, trucks are monitored by the 24/7 Volvo Uptime Center, and Volvo Trucks took its commitment to the customer a step further last fall with the launch of the all-in-one fleet management portal, Volvo Connect.

Volvo Connect suite of services

The suite of connected services offered by Volvo Trucks continues to grow following the launch of Volvo Connect.

Through Volvo Connect, customers can monitor their trucks in near real-time, see pending remote programming updates, and manage vehicle health data and safety items. The ability to see pending remote programming update availability in specific trucks from one portal allows fleet managers to notify drivers to perform the update the next time they are stopped and safely parked.

With the My Truck App, drivers can also receive insights on engine fluid levels, washer fluid, and potential light faults before they arrive at their truck to begin their pre-trip inspection. They can also set the climate control to reach their preferred temperature before arriving to start their shift.

“You can do comparisons to top-performing vehicles, bottom-performing vehicles, find correlations between operating routes, and so forth,” Gustafson said. “Parameter settings have been very insightful for our customers: Road speed limit—what is the truck actually set at?—and idle shutdown, all of which can also be configured over the air.”

Extended service intervals

Volvo Trucks engineers also have redesigned VNL components for increased serviceability and longer service intervals.

The Volvo VNL features a redesigned exhaust aftertreatment system, providing both longer service intervals and the ability to be serviced in three separate components. The diesel oxidation catalyst, the DPF, and the SCR can all be serviced or replaced individually, avoiding the unnecessary disposal of a unit with extensive operational life.

According to the manufacturer, in addition to improving the EATS’ serviceability, Volvo Trucks engineers reduced the overall component weight by 75 lb. and increased the DPF’s service interval to approximately 630,000 miles.

Longer service intervals have also been achieved in the all-new Volvo VNL due to advancements in specific components: air dryer, engine air filter, HVAC filters, oil drain intervals, fuel filters, and more. Additionally, valve adjustment intervals have been extended by nearly 20%.

Volvo Trucks is also introducing new 24-volt electrical architecture on the VNL, a system becoming standard in the European market and part of a necessary upgrade to support future North American commercial transportation technology, Gustafson suggested.

“This enables us to have smaller components, thinner wires, with higher reliability and less weight on the vehicle,” he said. “But first and foremost, this enables faster, more accurate diagnostics for remotely troubleshooting a vehicle.” 

Blue Service Contracts

As an added level of service and customer care, Volvo Trucks introduced the Blue Service Contract at TMC in 2023.

With the Blue Service Contract, the truck is monitored by the dealership, and customers have a dedicated fleet manager to proactively schedule services and technician, service bay, parts, and supplies are available. 

“It’s more than just a maintenance plan,” Gustafson said. “It’s underpinned through our connected vehicle platform, optimizing maintenance intervals, finding opportunities, and reducing unplanned stops.”

Dealer-managed Blue Service Contracts also offer inflation protection for the customer, with negotiated labor and parts rates at the time of purchase, and can be included in the truck financing at purchase through Volvo Financial Services.

Currently, 10 dealer groups with 53 locations are certified to sell the Blue Service Contract.  

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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