Revolutionary I-Shift drives Volvo's fuel efficiency leadership

Already delivering up to an 8 percent fuel efficiency improvement over EPA ’07 engines, Volvo Trucks announced a powertrain package for its VN series tractors aimed at reducing fuel consumption. The new XE13 – exceptional efficiency – powertrain package lowers engine rpm at a given vehicle speed, a concept Volvo calls “downspeeding.” Possible through the combination of Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission and a Volvo engine with modified software, XE13 allows the engine to cruise at just 1150 rpm at 65 mph – about 200 rpm less than the average truck sold today.

“Historically, we’ve seen a slow progression toward a lower “sweet spot,” with the 1300 to 1500 rpm range as the current industry standard,” Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks product manager – powertrain, said. “The engine with the XE13 package has a “sweet spot” of 1050 to 1500 rpm.  Customers gain about a 1.5 percent fuel efficiency improvement for every 100 rpm of “downspeeding,” so fleets that spec XE13 can expect up to a 3 percent improvement when compared to another overdrive transmission in a similar operation.”

The XE13 package is rated up to 80,000 pounds (GCWR) and includes the following components:

  • Volvo D13 engine with 425 horsepower and 1750 lb-ft of torque.
  • Volvo I-Shift overdrive transmission with a 0.78:1 ratio.
  • Axle ratios of 2.64 to 2.69.
  • Proprietary software that facilitates seamless communication between Volvo’s integrated powertrain components.

“With the new package, the engine runs in its sweet spot at any given speed, never straying from its sweet spot at any point from zero through top speed,” Saxman said.  “When cruising at speeds below 60 mph, the intelligent software is designed to prompt the I-Shift transmission to downshift only when necessary for maximum fuel efficiency. Like the song says, the I-Shift software knows when to hold ’em and knows when to fold ’em.”

“Any fleet focused on spec’ing their trucks for maximum fuel efficiency can benefit from the XE13 package, but fleets spending considerable time cruising at highway speeds will see the greatest improvements.” Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks senior vice president – sales and marketing, said. “Our intelligent, integrated XE13 package delivers improved fuel efficiency without sacrificing drivability during steep mountain inclines or stop-and-go traffic.”

The XE13 powertain package is the latest step in fuel efficiency for Volvo customers, who are already achieving up to 8 percent improvements in fuel efficiency over EPA ’07 engines. In November 2009, the launch of Volvo’s EPA ’10 certified No Regen engines with SCR technology gave customers a 5 percent boost. Volvo’s powertrain enhancements and advanced aerodynamics announced at the 2011 Mid America Trucking Show deliver up to an additional 3 percent.

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