Volvo Trucks new VNL touts engine, transmission enhancements

Volvo Trucks new VNL touts engine, transmission enhancements

Volvo says its engineers overhauled the Volvo D13 engine and I-Shift transmission — let's see what's changed.

Volvo has detailed the enhancements to its D13 engine and I-Shift transmission that will be available in its upcoming new VNL. Design changes to the D13 engine include a new seven-wave piston with a shorter piston height, longer connecting rod, smaller injector needle control valves, a variable vane oil pump and improvements to the turbo compounding (TC) unit and turbocharger. Volvo also tells us its engineers introduced enhancements that improve I-Shift transmission shift speeds by 30%.

“Bringing the all-new Volvo VNL to the market has been seven years in the making,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “As we’ve said, this is not just a face lift, it’s a 90% redesign of the product and the platform for all future powertrain solutions. A 10% fuel efficiency increase is the result of radically improved aerodynamics and a dedication to improving upon our already class-leading powertrain offering.”

Voorhoeve also elaborated on the role ICE truck efficiency plays in carbon reduction efforts, saying “a 10% savings in a nearly 300,000 Class 8 truck market would equate to the same carbon reductions delivered by 30,000 battery-electric Class 8 trucks. Efficiency gains in our all-new Volvo VNL are crucial to our three-pillar strategy for decarbonizing heavy-duty transportation.”

Combustion improvements

Smaller needle control valves in the fuel injectors provide improved fuel flow into the D13 engine’s combustion chamber, according to Volvo, allowing for more precise and rapid fuel flow control improving atomization, combustion efficiency and enhancing engine performance. Volvo also says it has improved on its six-wave piston design, with the seven-wave piston. Volvo claims it provides further directional control of the air and fuel mixture to create even more efficient combustion. Additionally, the new engine has decreased piston height and paired them with a longer connecting rod, which the company says will minimize cylinder sidewall pressure, decrease friction and improving overall performance.

Turbo improvements

To minimize heat loss and increase efficiency, Volvo says complete insulation was added to both the turbocharger and the TC unit. Internal refinements include a smaller compressor and turbine wheel, which Volvo claims will allow the system to recover surplus energy more effectively, converting it into usable power.

“While our previous generation D13, particularly the D13TC engine, performed extremely well, our dedicated team of engineers were able to seek out and successfully implement changes to make it even more reliable and efficient than ever before,” said Duane Tegels, product marketing manager for powertrain at Volvo Trucks North America. “Where there are opportunities to make improvements, our team is focused on continuing to work towards decarbonizing our product offering.”

Variable displacement oil pump

The variable displacement oil pump which Volvo integrated into the D13 engine is meant to optimize oil pressure regulation while effectively minimizing parasitic losses. Volvo says the new pump employs adjustable vanes that dynamically adapt to the engine’s oil pressure demands, ensuring a consistent and precise delivery of oil throughout various operating conditions—preventing excess oil flow when not needed and maintaining optimal pressure when demanded, through adjustable vane angles. According to Volvo, this adaptability enhances engine efficiency by reducing the energy required to drive the pump and minimizes unnecessary strain on the engine components, resulting in improved fuel economy and reduced wear and tear over time.

I-Shift improvements

Volvo is officially marking the end of its manual transmission offerings, which it says is due to the efficiency gains and reliability achieved with the I-Shift. Now, the company says the latest iteration of the automated I-Shift transmission features up to 30% faster shifting speeds compared to its predecessor. To reach these shifting speeds, Volvo overhauled of the software, electronics, clutch mechanisms and engineering of the I-Shift. Volvo says its engineers redefined algorithms, reduced clutch throw and introduced an enhanced clutch brake system to significantly reduce transition times between gears, which the company claims will ensure seamless power delivery, amplify acceleration and minimizes energy loss during gear changes.

“Vehicle efficiency transcends mere engine performance; it encompasses the synergy between various components, where the transmission plays a pivotal role,” said Tegels. “The transmission’s ability to optimize gear shifts, reduce energy loss, and harmonize power delivery significantly influences overall vehicle efficiency, showcasing that a holistic approach beyond the engine is vital in achieving optimal performance and fuel economy.”

Learn more details about the new VNL from this Q&A with Volvo execs.

You May Also Like

HDA Truck Pride raises $35,000 for Kids Matter International

With a donation of $100, Kids Matter International provides up to $350 worth of new clothes and shoes to a child in need.


HDA Truck Pride raised $35,000 for Kids Matter International, an organization dedicated to brightening the lives of children in Grapevine, TX. The announcement of the donation happened at this year's HDA Truck Pride Annual Meeting.

Founded in 2006, Kids Matter International has been instrumental in providing essential resources and educational opportunities to children in need in the Grapevine area. From providing new clothing, shoes, books, and backpacks, to offering educational programs, Kids Matter International empowers children and instills hope for a brighter future.

Peterbilt’s largest EV order comes from Einride

Einride placed an order for 150 Model 579EVs, which Peterbilt says is their largest U.S. EV order to date.

ACT Research: Preliminary May Class 8 orders beat expectations

Early data shows Class 8 orders climbed considerably both m/m and y/y, but ACT it’s a slightly different story for Classes 5-7.

Kenworth offering PACCAR MX-13 CARB-compliant engine

The PACCAR MX-13 CARB-compliant engine will be available in the Kenworth T680, T880, and W990, with production slated for Q4 2024.

PepsiCo picks Tesla, Ford for California EV fleet

PBNA ordered 50 Class 8 Tesla Semi trucks, 75 Ford E-Transit electric vans to more than triple size of its EV fleet.


Other Posts

International Truck integrates S13 engine with Allison automatic transmissions

Allison 3414 Regional Haul Series, 4000 Series fully automatic transmissions available for International RH, HX Series trucks, respectively.

Volvo announces plans for hydrogen ICE trucks on-road testing

Customer tests for Volvo hydrogen combustion engine trucks will start in 2026, with orders starting by the end of the decade.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index declines 1.2%

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello cites continued market softness, potentially leading to reduced industry capacity.

What it takes to service battery electric trucks

Investing in battery-electric trucks and infrastructure are just the beginning of electrifying your fleet, Volvo has experience taking shops through the rest of the EV journey.