Stealing the show
The new Volvo FH is a remarkable vehicle, and was the centre of attention at the IAA International Motor Show in Hanover.
Volvo launched its new FH truck in Sweden in September, and everyone wanted to see the mechanical marvel that the company promises will set new standard in the long-haul industry.
“What you see here is the latest generation FH – and we’re not talking about a facelift, this is a brand new truck,” said Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks, at the press conference in Hanover. Adding that the company has invested almost €1,3 billion (R14,8 billion) in the new Volvo FH. “It is an outstanding long-haul truck, with technology way ahead of its competitors.”
The IAA presented an opportunity for everyone to see the new range up close for the first time, with no fewer than 10 of the new trucks on display at the Volvo Trucks stand. Here, attendees were left in awe as presentations ran on some of the model’s innovations for improved fuel efficiency, handling, uptime and driver environment – many of which are industry firsts.
“All in all, our new Volvo FH is much more than a world-class truck,” said Nilsson. “It’s a complete, competitive business solution. It contains components and features that give our customers added value compared to today’s offers – and it will further strengthen our leading position and help us gain new market share.”
Strong emphasis was placed on the new Volvo FH’s reduced fuel consumption and environmental impact, with its Euro-6 engine and the new I-Torque driveline being highlighted. (The former will be available to the European market from around April 2013, with the latter being introduced in September 2013 or thereabouts.)
Ricard Fritz, senior vice president of Volvo Trucks explained: “I-Torque delivers high torque from low revs and contains an I-Shift transmission with dual-clutch technology, resulting in excellent driveability, quiet operation and great fuel efficiency.”
Nilsson added that the I-Torque reduces fuel consumption by up to four percent. “Together with I-See and other minor improvements, the result is that fuel consumption can drop by up to
10 percent,” he highlighted. “For the average truck, this can equate to a saving of
4 100 litres of fuel a year.”
I-See, the new software package for Volvo’s I-Shift transmission, memorises road data and automatically optimises gear shifting and speed to the topography – which makes life easier for the driver and saves fuel. “The next time the truck uses the same route, I-See operates the accelerator, gears and brakes to ensure that progress is as economical as possible,” emphasised Nilsson.
However, it wasn’t all about the bottom-line. The all-new cab got a lot of attention too. The more upright A-pillars have given the cab an additional 300 litres of storage capacity and greater comfort.
“The cab is optimised for both work and leisure time,” said Nilsson. “A better bed, integrated parking cooler, new lighting and low noise levels, among other features, increase the chance of pleasant relaxation and a good night’s sleep, which in turn means drivers are less tired and more alert.”
The new FH cab has passed the comprehensive collision tests better than any other Volvo truck thus far, building on the company’s already impressive safety record.
Volvo’s all-new FH will be delivered to European customers in April 2013, with the very first truck being auctioned on eBay and the proceeds donated to charity.
The FH will, however, only come to South Africa in about September next year.
Turn to Global FOCUS on page 64 for even more on the new FH wonder, or grab a copy of last month’s FOCUS as Charleen Clarke elucidated on it in her Steering Column.