Volvo Trucks is setting a blistering pace as the OEM continues to unveil equipment advancements, updated integrated technology and business partnerships that aim to grow its offerings.
Last fall, Volvo pulled the sheet off its futuristic SuperTruck, which boosted fuel efficiency by 70%—exceeding 12 MPG, with some test runs showing more than 13 MPG—in road tests, and powertrain brake thermal efficiency reached 50%; unveiled its Volvo Active Driver Assist collision mitigation system; and announced an agreement with Geotab to extend its Remote Diagnostics to legacy Volvo vehicles.
Just this past month, Volvo introduced Remote Programming, an over-the-air update system that works through powertrain software and parameter updates to increase truck uptime, reduce downtime costs and improve vehicle efficiency. Clearly there is no slowing down, and Volvo Trucks expects technology to drive truck sales.
“We anticipate an overall softer Class 8 market this year compared with 2016, with replacement demand serving as the primary driver as fleets look to refresh and upgrade to more fuel-efficient models featuring our 2017 powertrain lineup, and increase truck availability by leveraging Remote Diagnostics and our other connected vehicle and uptime services,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America. “Should we see an up-tick in activity, it will likely come in the latter half of the year.”
Volvo is poised to pounce on that opportunity. Collision mitigation systems are growing in adoption as fleets add new trucks to their lineup. The Volvo Active Driver Assist system integrates the Bendix Wingman Fusion system into the driver information display, providing a seamless experience for the driver, Koeck explained.
“Initial response to the introduction of Volvo Active Driver Assist has been very strong, particularly among our most safety-focused fleet customers,” he said. “We’re seeing a slow upward trend in the adoption of collision mitigation systems as fleets work through the numbers and see the tremendous financial value of technologies that can help reduce the likelihood of a crash. In many cases, avoiding just a single crash offsets the upfront investment across the entire fleet. We expect adoption of Volvo Active Driver Assist to increase as fleets gain first-hand experience with the technology and a greater understanding of its effectiveness.”
Remote Diagnostics is also driving fleet efficiency in the service and fault code management arena. The system provides vital information regarding fault codes—if it needs immediate attention or if it can be addressed in the near future.
“This kind of insight helps reduce the uncertainty typically experienced when trying to determine whether a truck can continue with its load to make a delivery or needs to visit the nearest dealership for service,” Koeck said. “Additionally, Volvo’s Remote Diagnostics provides a robust live 24/7 support team so decision-makers can get the information when they need it, how they want it, and they have a Volvo Action Service agent at Uptime Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, helping them through the process.”