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Volvo Trucks’ suite of new powertrain technologies boost fuel efficiency

Volvo Trucks has revealed its line-up of fuel-saving design enhancements to engines and transmission systems in its 2017 model year tractors. The enhancements include:

  • Turbo compounding on the Volvo D13 engine, which uses hot exhaust gases to power a turbine that is connected to the crankshaft. This essentially captures and delivers up to 50 hp back to the engine, improving efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. Click here to view a short video visualization.
  • A new piston design that increases compression ratio for better thermal efficiency.
  • An automated manual transmission with “crawler gears” optimized for low-speed applications (e.g., concrete mixers, dump trucks, asphalt pavers) that delivers the needed torque at low engine rpm.
  • Predictive cruise control (a software enhancement) that minimizes the load on the engine by monitoring and adapting to a range of factors, such as road grade, speed and weight. It will build speed before hills and reduce speed before the crest. Smart!
  • A new exhaust aftertreatment system that incorporates a particulate filter, selective catalyst reduction and fluid doser into a compact package. A copper-zeolite coating also enables low-temperature NOx reduction.

These enhancements have been shown to improve fuel efficiency by between 2.2 to 6.5 per cent, compared to previous models.

The Tech-K.O. Takeaway Some of the best engineering on the planet right now is being applied to improvements in the efficiency of gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines (ICEs) – the workhorses of our transportation system. They may not be as sexy as Tesla’s latest model, but these are the kinds of incremental technology improvements that are carrying the bulk of fuel consumption reductions around the world. Ongoing regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles are key to keeping up the momentum.

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