The new Volvo FH is characterised by innovative thinking in every respect. Passive safety and active safety have been increased with a new safety cage and new warning systems. Optimisation of geometry, improved front and rear suspension design, enhanced cab anti-roll properties and well-balanced damping for cab and chassis alike. These are the factors behind the 50 percent improvement in roll stability compared with the previous FH series, according to Stefan Axelsson, manager of handling and ride at Volvo Trucks.
The new Volvo FH series is the world's first heavy truck with individual front suspension, IFS, coupled with rack and pinion steering - two new features that have a radical effect on ride and handling. "IFS means that the front wheels have individual suspension - one wheel's movements will not affect the other. The result is steadier, more stable progress on the road," says Martin Palming, product manager at Volvo Trucks. Individual front suspension has long been fitted to passenger cars and, for some time now, even to buses. Rack and pinion steering is also a technology brought over from the world of passenger cars. A steering shaft equipped with gears transmits the driver's steering wheel input more directly to the wheels than with a conventional steering gear. The benefit for the driver is crisper road feel.
There is no doubt that fuel economy is one of the highest priorities for haulage firms today. Thanks to I-See the haulage firm can cut fuel consumption by up to 5 percent per vehicle. An additional fuel saving of up to 5 percent is possible with Volvo Trucks' new Fuel Package. This package encompasses training and monthly assistance - Fuel Advice - and its aim is to cut fuel costs by changing driving styles and increasing knowledge of how to drive for maximum fuel-efficiency.
With Volvo Trucks' new I-Torque Euro 6 driveline - production of which for the European market will get under way in autumn 2013 - the savings are even greater. "Volvo I-Torque reduces fuel consumption by up to 4 percent. Together with I-See and other minor improvements, the result is that fuel consumption drops by up to 10 percent. This corresponds to 4100 litres of fuel a year for the average truck," comments Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Truck Corporation.
The I-Torque system's high power output is developed thanks to two key components - the new D13 Euro 6 engine producing 460 hp/2800 Nm, and a new dual-clutch version of the automated I-Shift transmission (like VW's DSG). A highly efficient Turbocompound system, new software, Common Rail technology and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) are some of the new features that make the engine more efficient and reduce its environmental impact. The new gearbox is called I-Shift 2. With this unit, Volvo Trucks is the first manufacturer to install a dual-clutch automated transmission in a heavy duty truck.
The cab is now up to one cubic metre bigger. More upright A-pillars have given the cab an additional one cubic metre of interior space. This means an extra 300 litres of storage capacity, as well as greater comfort on board. From the improved driver's seat, the driver has a better view of the road, not least owing to the increase in the cab's usable window area and to the innovative rear-view mirror design. Stalks and controls are arranged in priority so that the most important ones are closest to the driver. Thanks to the new steering wheel adjustment system, the steering wheel can be angled a further 20 degrees compared to the previous version. Many of the functions in the new truck can be operated via buttons in the steering wheel - including the phone and navigator. The instrument panel is smooth and is in one piece all the way from one side of the cab to the other. An integrated parking cooler gives the driver a pleasant in-cab temperature round the clock.