Friday 7 August 2020

New faces for Volvo heavy trucks

Volvo has revamped the four heavy truck models that together account for more than two-thirds of its sales.

FH16, FH, FM, and FMX all have new driver interfaces, and active and passive safety systems, with a new, more spacious, cab shell gracing the FM and FMX models, as Volvo acknowledges the increasing difficulty that operators have in attracting and retaining drivers across most European markets.

The main instrument display is now a 12-inch screen with a choice of displays covering main vehicle functions, and this is supplemented by a second nine-inch screen for infotainment, navigation, transport information and camera monitoring. Screen functions can be controlled via direct touch, steering wheel mounted switches or even by a multilingual voice control.

A new cab shell is shared by the FM (distribution) and FMX (construction and off-road) models, with a larger interior space, bigger windows, lowered door line and new mirrors.

There is a new tilt function on the steering wheel to allow more adjustments in the driving position, and the sleeper cab features a raised bottom bunk with additional storage beneath. Day cabs get an interior lit, 40-litre storage compartment on the back wall.

Sound and heat insulation have been improved, and there is a new carbon filter for the interior ventilation system.

The range-topping FH16, together with the lower-powered long-haul FH models, get new front-end styling incorporating reactive headlamps which, on main beam, will dim themselves on approaching other vehicles.

Further safety features on the Volvo FH and FH16 include descent control, which sets a maximum speed to help prevent unwanted acceleration when travelling downhill, and an improved Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) that works at all speeds, down to a stop.

The Electronically-controlled Brake System (EBS), which is a prerequisite for safety features such as Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control, is now standard on the new trucks. Volvo Dynamic Steering, with the safety systems Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Assist, is also available as an option.

A road sign recognition system can detect road signs such as overtaking restrictions, road type and speed limits and repeat them on the infotainment screen.

Visibility from the cab can be improved further by the addition of a passenger corner camera that provides a complementary view of the nearside of the truck on the side display on all models.

Axle capacities and steering angles have been increased, and a new 38-tonne bogie is available for heavy-haulage applications on the FH16. Axles on the FMX have been similarly uprated, and diff locks can be easily engaged with a twist-action knob, and their status shown on-screen.

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