Volvo teases revamped VNL

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Jan. 5, 2024:

Volvo to unveil revamped VNL later this month

Volvo on Thursday teased the upcoming debut of its updated flagship VNL tractor -- a model that last received an overhaul in 2017. The truck will be unveiled virtually Jan. 23. 

The now-seven-year-old refresh borrowed some design elements from its regional sibling, the VNR, which debuted that same year as the successor to the VNM, and was inspired by Volvo’s SuperTruck project. Design inspiration for the forthcoming update is likely to come from the same place.

Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve told Overdrive sister publication CCJ last year that what the company learned from shaping and light-weighting its SuperTruck 2, and the fruits of a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), would be seen on mass production models sooner rather than later.

Starting with a cab wedge-shaped from front to back, including a raked and custom-made wraparound windshield, the front end of SuperTruck 2 was designed around a downsized cooling package, a fully aerodynamic trailer with gap fairings, skirts and boat tail, and included air-actuated adjustable ride height. 

Voorhoeve appears to be making good on his promise. 

A teaser video released by Volvo Thursday features a tractor wrapped in a graphics package typical of concept vehicles, but it does little to disguise the aggressive hood slope and stubby nose. The tractor's headlights also appear similarly positioned to those found on SuperTruck 2.

Also noteworthy is what appears to be an air intake on the hood and the absence of side vents, design elements that were not part of SuperTruck 2. 

In the minute-and-a-half teaser video, Volvo didn't show the inside of the tractor. 

New York postpones I-87 closure due to expected snow

The New York State Thruway Authority is postponing a planned closure of I-87 that was set for Saturday night, Jan. 6. The closure was set for the northbound lanes of the Thruway (I-87) from exit 17 in Newburgh to exit 18 in New Paltz.

The Authority said the postponement is due to snow expected in the region over the weekend.

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According to Accuweather, a Nor’easter is expected to dump snow and ice from the central Appalachians into New England. More than a foot of snow is expected in some areas.

The Thruway Authority said it will provide an update when the work is rescheduled.

[Related: After repeated bridge strikes, I-87 NB closure planned for the weekend]

Xantrex power inverters now offered on International trucks

International Trucks is now offering the Xantrex Freedom XC 1800W pure sine-wave inverter/charger as a factory option on its trucks.

The new option means longer surge power and “clean” electricity that is consistent -- no spikes or drops in power -- allowing the use of sensitive medical devices like CPAP machines

Xantrex Freedom XcDrivers can monitor the current status of the truck’s electrical system thanks to Freedom XC’s display panel that is mounted in the sleeper. It shows the AC and battery current, plus has a status bar displaying the percent of inverter output.Xantrex“More than 75% of sleeper units are now being spec’d with inverters or inverter/chargers and that number continues to grow,” said Mitul Chandrani, VP of Marketing for Mission Critical Electronics, the parent company of Xantrex. “It’s an AC-world in trucks these days -- powering microwaves, laptops, medical devices and power tools.” 

According to Chandrani, the Freedom XC provides 1,800 watts of power, along with 4,000 watts of surge power for a two-second duration. That “allows high-draw devices to be used, without fear of shutting down the inverter,” he said.  

The Freedom XC comes with an 80-amp built-in 3-stage battery charger, allowing for rapid battery charging when plugged into shore power. Xantrex also uses a 30-amp relay, which quickly senses the change in the power source and transfers the load virtually uninterrupted.

While the Xantrex Freedom XC works in unison with traditional batteries, it was also designed to work with and recharge Lithium-ion batteries.

[Related: The quest for no-idle, mostly maintenance-free power]