Volvo to demonstrate new aerodynamic, safety features at GATS

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Volvo Trucks North America recently added several new options and features to its trucks to further enhance their productivity while increasing uptime and fuel economy. The new components will be on display at the Volvo booth at the Great American Trucking Show (, set for Aug. 23-25 at the Dallas Convention Complex.

Also at GATS, Volvo will display two Volvo VNs equipped to meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program for tractors. A Volvo VN 780 with a full-height sleeper and a VN 730 mid-roof sleeper will be used to show attendees the enhanced aerodynamics and other fuel-saving strategies used to achieve EPA’s Certified SmartWay designation for highway sleeper tractors.

Volvo customers are able to specify a SmartWay-eligible tractor component package when ordering their trucks. The required components are identified in Volvo’s truck ordering system so that carriers participating in the SmartWay program can ensure their new trucks qualify for EPA’s public designation.

Volvo says its SmartWay-eligible tractor components include:

  • Aerodynamic fairings for mid-roof tractors: One of the SmartWay requirements is for full-height roof fairings, for smooth and efficient airflow over the top of the sleeper to the trailer. The VN 780’s aerodynamic roof design accomplishes this while at the same time providing a huge living space in the sleeper. The mid-roof VN 730 meets the SmartWay requirement with Volvo’s new fairing for mid-roof tractors. The fairing provides very aerodynamic performance for pulling full-height trailers, while retaining the lighter weight of a mid-roof tractor. The new fairing also is available for the Volvo VT 830. The fairing is removable and can be retrofitted to existing VN 730 and VT 830 tractors.
  • Tire pressure monitoring system: Safety, driver uptime and reduced operating costs are critical for all customers. So at GATS, Volvo also will display a factory-installed tire pressure monitoring system. Improperly inflated tires can lead to reduced fuel efficiency, breakdowns and accidents.
  • The tire pressure monitoring system will be available as an option for all Volvo highway tractors beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007. The system constantly monitors each wheel using remote sensors and displays real-time tire pressures and temperatures through Volvo’s Driver Information Display. Drivers receive alerts for individual tires, notifying them of over- or underinflated tires (more than 10 percent outside set pressure), high temperatures, sudden leaks or loss of pressure, and loss of sensor or missing data.

    Correct tire inflation is an important factor for obtaining maximum fuel economy and tire life, since rolling resistance accounts for more than 30 percent of a vehicle’s fuel efficiency at 65 mph. Tires underinflated by only 10 PSI can reduce fuel economy by up to 1 percent. At the same time, incorrect inflation is also a leading cause of premature tire failure, yet industry surveys have found that fewer than 8 percent of truck drivers check tire pressures with a tire gauge before each trip.

  • LED side repeater and marker lamps: Volvo recently changed from incandescent bulbs to LED (light-emitting diodes) on all Volvo VN, VT and VHD tractors and trucks for marker lamps and side turn signal repeater lamps. LEDs are now standard for these lamps on all Volvo trucks. LEDs have several advantages compared to incandescent bulbs, including longer life, improved reliability, and reduced service and replacement costs.
  • The LED marker lamps are used in all external sunvisors, as well as the hood air intakes and bumpers of Volvo VT tractors, and have a clear lens with amber LEDs. The side repeaters are mounted on the side of the cab to alert other drivers alongside the truck to an active turn signal. The repeaters have black bezels, clear lenses and amber LEDs.

  • Mirror and integrated turn signal: Increased visibility to other drivers is also the goal of another new component on display in the Volvo booth at GATS — mirrors with integrated high-intensity LED turn signals. The mirror displays a flashing red arrow at the bottom of the mirror surface when the turn signal is activated by the driver. The signal has two light levels, for day and night driving, and has a 70 degree viewing angle. It is visible to the driver, as well as to other drivers who may be blocked from seeing other turn signals at the back or side of the truck. The mirror with integrated turn signal now is available for the Volvo VN, VT and VHD.