Volvo goes aero, and launches Europe’s most powerful truck engine

By Categories: NewsPublished On: Monday 26 February 2024

Volvo is the latest truck man­ufacturer to take advantage of EU dimensions regulatory reform to introduce a new truck range with a more aer­odynamic and spacious cab.

It has also taken back its crown as the manufacturer of Europe’s most powerful truck engine with the launch of a 17-litre 780 hp straight-six. Fuel savings for the new truck of up to five per cent com­pared to the previous model are claimed.

Dubbed Volvo FH Aero, trucks featuring the new cab also incorporate a camera vision system in place of conventional mirrors, refined I-See technology to enable greater use of the cruise control, and new ‘drag-free’ brakes with greater stopping capacity.

FH Aero will be available with four different drivelines, which will be introduced se­quentially: starting with the diesel-powered version using existing Volvo engines. This will be followed by the FH Aero Electric, then the gas-pow­ered version. The final en­trant will be the FH16 Aero with the new 17-litre engine.

The new cab has been ex­tended by 24 cm over the standard FH.

This will not only reduce drag, but also, Volvo claims, improve stability in windy con­ditions.

The Camera Monitoring System is said to offer supe­rior performance to conven­tional mirrors both in terms of field of vision and in adverse lighting conditions. On tractor units, the cameras pan to fol­low the trailer wheels through turns.

Volvo sees particular ad­vantage in the increased range that FH Aero Electric customers will benefit from: with the reduced aerodynam­ic and friction losses having an appreciable effect.

Besides the additional space, drivers will benefit from an improved infotain­ment system and audio equip­ment, and Volvo will offer a new truck-specific navigation system, with automated up­dates.

Other interior upgrades include a built-in microwave oven, and USB-C power out­lets. A new Tyre Monitoring Ser­vice gives fleet managers a complete view of tyre condi­tion through Volvo’s Connect telematics.

Volvo will market the FH Aero alongside the current FH model.

Volvo’s FM fleet and FMX on/off-highway trucks will also incorporate some of the FH Aero features from the middle of the year, includ­ing the Camera Monitoring System, the improved I-See cruise-control, the Tyre Mon­itoring System, and the new brakes.

D17 engine boasts 780 hp output

Volvo has reclaimed its title of the maker of Europe’s most powerful truck from Scania. The new 17-litre straight-six D17 engine is available at ratings of 600, 700 and 780 hp, with corresponding torque outputs of 3000, 3400 and 3800 Nm, respectively.

Increased torque output has necessitated the introduction of an uprated gearbox for the 780 hp engine, while the transmission used on the other two engines has been refined to improve internal efficiency.

A refined piston design improves combustion efficiency and reduces emissions, a new fuel-injection system improves fuel economy, while increased peak cylinder pressure boosts power output. Engine brake power has been increased across the entire rpm range, which not only reduces the load on the truck’s foundation brakes but also allows faster gearshifts.

All versions of the D17 will run on HVO, and the 700 hp variant can also handle biofuel at concentrations of up to 100 per cent.

The D17 will be available for trucks with both the current and new Aero cabs but, in spite of the increased engine capacity, the FH16 badging will continue.