In September, I took an XE13-equipped Volvo VN 670 on a six-hour test, highlighted by a climb up Fancy Gap, a 2,000-foot mountain on I-77 near the North Carolina-Virginia border.
For most of the climb, I was able to hang out in the middle lane, passing other, lugging rigs.
Because the XE13’s drivetrain is fully integrated, each system knows precisely what demands are being placed on each component. This information is updated thousands of times per second. The light-speed communication network allows the tractor’s I-Shift transmission to direct the engine to respond to its needs, instead of the other way around.
The result is a smooth ride up and down a mountain in crowded road conditions, while the tractor pulls 77,000 pounds. The system selected 10th gear early in the Fancy Gap climb and held a steady 53 mph to the summit without strain.
The XE13, a combination of Volvo’s I-Shift automated-manual transmission and a D13 Volvo engine with modified software, allows the engine to cruise at 1150 rpm at 65 mph.
The package is rated for up to 80,000 pounds and includes a 425-hp, 1750 lb.-ft.-torque D13. The Volvo I-Shift overdrive transmission comes with a 0.78:1 ratio and a software package that facilitates communication between the integrated powertrain components.
– Jack Roberts
Caterpillar has begun production of its CT660 vocational truck for the North American market and is shipping units to customers, the company announced.
The truck was developed using the Navistar WorkStar vocational truck as a starting point. Cat trucks will offer only one engine: Navistar’s 2010 EGR-only family of heavy-duty engines, painted yellow and branded as Cat CT11 and CT13. The two companies jointly developed the high-pressure fuel injection system that helps enable Navistar engines to meet EPA 2010 emissions regulations without use of selective catalytic reduction aftertreatment.
During a brief test drive, accleration with the 475 horse CT13 under the hood was peppy and the CX31 provided smooth shifts right on cue. Equally impressive are the truck’s wheel cuts and turning radius.