Volvo Trucks improves powertrain offering with new Volvo VNL

With the announcement of the all-new Volvo VNL, Volvo Trucks North America has extended its fuel efficiency by enhancing the dependable Volvo D13 engine and I-Shift transmission. Design enhancements to the D13 engine include a new wave piston with a shorter piston height, as well as a longer connecting rod; smaller injector needle control valves; a variable vane oil pump; and improvements to the turbo compounding (TC) unit and turbocharger. To further drive the fuel efficiency benefits of I-Shift, Volvo Trucks engineers introduced enhancements that improve shift speeds by up to 30%. 

“Bringing the all-new Volvo VNL to the market has been seven years in the making,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “As we’ve said, this is not just a face lift, it’s a 90% redesign of the product and the platform for all future powertrain solutions. A 10% fuel efficiency increase is the result of improved aerodynamics and a dedication to improving upon our already class-leading powertrain offering.  A 10% savings in a nearly 300,000 Class 8 truck market would equate to the same carbon reductions delivered by 30,000 battery-electric Class 8 trucks. Efficiency gains in our all-new Volvo VNL are crucial to our three-pillar strategy for decarbonizing heavy-duty transportation.”

With the new Volvo VNL, Volvo Trucks North America extended their class-leading fuel efficiency by enhancing the dependable Volvo D13 engine and I-Shift transmission. (Pic: Volvo Trucks)

In 2017, Volvo Trucks introduced its patented six-wave piston, which received broad industry recognition for its results in reducing fuel consumption. With the launch of the new Volvo VNL, Volvo Trucks has introduced an improved seven-wave piston that provides further directional control of the air and fuel mixture to create even more efficient combustion. Additionally, the piston height was decreased and paired with a longer connecting rod to minimize cylinder sidewall pressure, decreasing friction and improving overall performance. These improvements provide smoother internal movement, reducing parasitic loss and increasing the overall efficiency and engine longevity.

“The advancements made in the latest generation of the Volvo D13 engine are nothing short of remarkable,” said Duane Tegels, product marketing manager for powertrain, Volvo Trucks North America. “While our previous generation D13, particularly the D13TC engine, performed extremely well, our dedicated team of engineers were able to seek out and successfully implement changes to make it even more reliable and efficient than ever before. When you’re designing a truck to change everything, every detail inside the engine matters. Where there are opportunities to make improvements, our team is focused on continuing to work towards decarbonizing our product offering.”

The integration of a variable displacement oil pump within an engine represents a pivotal advancement in optimizing oil pressure regulation while effectively minimizing parasitic losses. By dynamically altering the vane angles, the pump can tailor its output to match the engine’s requirements, thereby preventing excess oil flow when not needed and maintaining optimal pressure when demanded. 

The latest iteration of the I-Shift transmission features up to 30% faster shifting speeds compared to its predecessor. The efficiency gains and reliability achieved with the I-Shift have led Volvo Trucks to officially mark the end of its manual transmission offering.