Volvo Trucks has claimed its new FH tractor unit, officially launched last night [5 September] in Gothenburg, Sweden, re-defines what a premium truck can offer.
The manufacturer said much of its work on its new flagship has been focused on boosting fuel economy and improving the driver’s working environment.
Compared with the current FH, the new model will be more economical and safer. It has more interior space for the driver and provides better visibility.
Crucially, Volvo has ditched the current model’s widely criticised raked windscreen. Reducing windscreen rake creates an extra cubic metre of cab space, according to Volvo, one third of which has been given over to more storage.
The cab, reckoned to be stronger than ever, has better noise insulation, new interior lighting and a more comfortable bed and driver’s seat.
A bigger glazing area improves visibility; slimmer mirrors obscure less of the view at junctions.
The new FH should handle better, thanks largely to the option of independent front suspension. New telemetry will allow workshops to monitor wear on some key components without seeing the vehicle.
Production next year
Production of the new FH starts next spring. Early indications ahead of the official launch suggest that initially it will be available with Euro-5 engines only. Production of Euro-6 engines is scheduled to begin in autumn of next year, just before the Euro-6 emission limit becomes mandatory on 31 December for new vehicles.
However, Volvo has already announced that one Euro-6 engine will go into production next spring. This is the 460hp version of the 12.8-litre D13 engine, which will use EGR and SCR to comply with Euro-6’s tough NOx limit.
Fuel consumption could be up to 10% better than the current model. Most of this claimed improvement comes from just two sources: first, there is I-See forward-looking cruise control. Instead of using 3D mapping, I-See utilises the gradient sensor in the I-Shift gearbox control. When a truck encounters a hill for the first time, I-See records the rate of gradient change, plus the location of the hill, as determined by the GPS system. Next time the truck approaches the same hill this data is used to manage the truck’s control strategy, provided cruise control is used.
The other major source of fuel-savings is expected to be a new I-Torque function, reckoned to be capable of cutting consumption by up to 4%. This is part of the Euro-6 driveline - however, no further details were available ahead of the FH’s launch.
Volvo Truck president Claes Nilsson claimed the FH will attract the very best drivers. "That is why the new Volvo FH should increase an operator’s profitability."
The all new FH will be on show at Commerical Motor Live (3-4 October) at Bedfordshire's Millbrook Proving Ground. Make sure your book your ticket now at commercialmotorlive.com to avoid disappointment.