An “intelligent” heavy-truck powertrain from Volvo Trucks has won the Technical Achievement Award from North American Truck Writers, a committee of transportation and logistics reporters and editors. The annual award spotlights currently available products or services that show innovation, technical excellence, wide applicability, and real benefits for commercial truck operators, the writers group said.
Volvo’s I-Torque Powertrain claims high fuel economy by combining a turbo-compounded diesel, a 13-speed automated manual transmission, a low numerical (“fast”) axle ratio, and load sensing software for cruising at low engine revs. Meanwhile, the system’s electronic controls use real-time map-based data and GPS positioning to manage speed and gear shifting while ascending and descending grades. It is available in several Volvo truck models.
The 2023 award was announced at a March 1 awards luncheon during the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting and Truck Exposition in Orlando. Accepting was Duane Tegels, product marketing manager for Volvo Powertrain.
“We’re very happy to receive this award,” Tegels said. “The engineers worked hard on this. And we’re getting good feedback from the fleets. It’s a great fuel-efficiency tool.”
The I-Torque Powertrain was one of five finalists chosen from an initial list of 16 products suggested by the truck writers group, according to Tom Berg, who headed the nine-member judges panel. Nominations, discussions and voting was done by email over a two-week period in February.
The other four nominees were:
• Detroit Assurance 5.0 system – Electronic safety devices that help the driver keep a truck in its lane and under control to avoid and mitigate collisions;
• Grote 4See Smart Trailer System -- Hardware and software that brings together all the independent electric and electronic equipment into a common communication stream, without increasing the harness or hardware required on a trailer;
• Phillips Connect Smart 7 nosebox (in three versions) -- Advanced cellular gateways, GPS trackers, and sensor hubs that pinpoint and transmit trailer location, status, and critical conditions to the cloud; and
• PlusDrive autonomous truck retrofit system -- Converts an existing trucks into semi-autonomous operation using lidar, radar and cameras with autonomous driving software.
“We truck writers have been giving this award every year since 1991, except in 2021 when the COVID pandemic interrupted life in general,” said Berg, a freelancer who writes for Land Line and Construction Equipment magazines. “We feel privileged to cover the trucking industry, and aside from our reporting and writing, this is a way to honor the suppliers who continuously improve the equipment that truck operators use.”
In 2016 the Technology Achievement Award was dedicated to James W. Winsor, a respected trucking journalist for 50 years and enthusiastic supporter of the Technology & Maintenance Council. He passed away in 2015. Since 2019 the award has been sponsored by Susan Fall of LaunchIt Public Relations.
Aside from Berg, members of the Truck Writers committee were John Baxter, freelance technical writer, Baxter Techwrite; Jason Cannon, editor, Commercial Carrier Journal; Seth Clevenger, managing editor, features, Transport Topics; James Menzies, editor, Today’s Trucking and Trucknews.com; Jason Morgan, content director, Fleet Equipment; Jim Park, equipment editor, Heavy Duty Trucking; Jack Roberts, chief editor, Diesel Dogs Media; and John G. Smith, vice president-editorial, Newcom Media.