Friday, September 23, 2011

New Powertrain Can Lower Freight Haulage Fleets Fuel Use

Volvo Innovation Results in More MPG
Shipping News Feature

US – In July Volvo announced it was producing a cleaner, lean burn natural gas truck to satisfy the future needs of its environmentally aware freight customers and now, following a more conventional route the company is again bidding to save haulage operations fuel and pollution with the addition of a new powertrain package for its VN series tractors, which, in combination with the savings of 5% made with the 2009 introduction of Volvo EPA’10 certified No Regen engines with SCR technology, now offers hauliers a fuel saving of up to 8% over standard EPA’07 engines.

Every professional commercial driver knows the key to fuel economy is lower revs per minute and the new XE13 (exceptional efficiency) powertrain lowers engine rpm at a given vehicle speed, a concept Volvo calls ‘downspeeding.’ Volvo are using a combination of the company’s I-Shift automated manual transmission and an engine with modified software, allowing the XE13 to cruise at 65mph turning over at only 1150 rpm– about 200 rpm less than the average truck currently on sale.

For technophiles the XE13 package is rated up to 80,000 pounds (GCWR) and includes a Volvo D13 engine with 425 horsepower and 1750 lb-ft of torque coupled with the I-Shift overdrive transmission with a 0.78:1 ratio and axle ratios of 2.64 to 2.69. The system runs on proprietary software that Volvo says facilitates seamless communication between the integrated powertrain components. Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks Product Manager( Powertrain), said:

“Historically, we’ve seen a slow progression toward a lower “sweet spot,” with the 1300 to 1500 rpm range as the current industry standard. The engine with the XE13 package has a “sweet spot” of 1050 to 1500 rpm. Customers gain about a 1.5 percent fuel efficiency improvement for every 100 rpm of ‘downspeeding,’ so fleets that spec XE13 can expect up to a 3 percent improvement when compared to another overdrive transmission in a similar operation.

“With the new package, the engine runs in its sweet spot at any given speed, never straying from its sweet spot at any point from zero through top speed. When cruising at speeds below 60 mph, the intelligent software is designed to prompt the I-Shift transmission to downshift only when necessary for maximum fuel efficiency.”