The new Volvo VNL, inside and out: Take the tour with Volvo's Chris Stadler

user-gravatar Headshot

Volvo opened up the order books for the new VNL just last month. Volvo Trucks North America's product marketing manager for long haul, Chris Stadler, walked us through this brand-new VNL on the floor of the Truckload Carriers Association's Truckload 2024 show in Nashville, Tennessee.

He spoke to the many redesigned features of the nearly-all-new series, this tractor an early production model VNL 660, featuring a 62-inch sleeper (74-inch options are available on the VNL 860 and 840 variations).

Stadler showcases a bevy of improvements in the video up top, in these design areas:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Operator entry and exit
  • Accessibility to internal compartments around the truck
  • Aftertreatment components, now in line for ease of service and accessibility
  • The new non-torque-reactive suspension option
  • New built-in back-of-cab connections for multiple video cameras
  • And plenty in the interior of the vehicle

Stadler noted the new VNL's power options would be limited to Volvo power. "The engine itself has been improved," he said, with a "seven-way piston for a cleaner burn," likewise a variable speed oil pump.

For 2024, only turbo-compounding engines will be available -- plans for the new VNL for 2025 include a variable-geometry turbo option. Horsepower ratings from 405-500 hp are available, with an option for up to 1,950 lb.-ft. of torque with the 500-hp spec. Cummins-built engines are no longer an option, he added.

Volvo Dynamic Steering is part of the now fully proprietary lane-keep and lane-centering driver-assist system that Stadler said had been "on the road for a number of years in Europe," and fully developed and proven out.

New VNL Cockpit, overhead view with seatsIn the interior, Stadler ran through a litany of design choices aimed at increasing driver comfort and accessibility to internal systems, including a cockpit effectively built around the operator.

HVAC controls in VNL up front of the cab above driverThis new all-digital HVAC control panel up front, overhead from the driver in the seat, is mirrored back in the sleeper as well.

Volvo VNL standard steering wheelThe steering wheel has both tilt and telescopic adjustment, but likewise neck tilt possibility for "position perfect" adjustments, he said, "to better see your instrument cluster and stalk control" of the automated transmission, now positioned just behind the wheel, as shown.

New electronic parking brakes are positioned for "easy toggle" within the driver's reach, Stadler noted, and designed so that if the driver "stands up in the seat" the parking brake will automatically set "if they haven't done it already."

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally

The rig's outfitted with two wireless-charging pads for phones and tablets -- one in the dash, another back in the sleeper, where new lighting is dimmable and connected to an alarm system. Lights can be configured to "come on with your alarm clock," Stadler said.

Thicker sleeper curtains, combined with additional insulation around the cab walls, roof and floor, increase the efficiency of Volvo's Cab Parking Cooler battery-driven auxiliary HVAC system, designed to maintain comfortable cab temperatures for 8-10 hours in most overnight conditions.

Batteries powering the Parking Cooler on new VNLTraditional battery-powered auxiliary power systems, Stadler noted, might feature a total of eight batteries on board, starting batteries included. The new system's batteries are pictured here revealed behind the easy-open side fairing/step. Volvo's reduced the battery number here to six, reducing weight and cost. Integrated is a new "battery management system" that "auto-starts the truck to charge the battery," Stadler added, when power levels reach a low threshold.

The auxiliary air-conditioning components include a condenser and compressor down on the frame rails, with the cooling fan in the front. For auxiliary heat when parked, two options include a 2-kW Espar fuel-fired heater and a 6-kW option, Stadler noted, "integrated into piping in the truck to heat the engine and cab, ... circulating heat in the ventilation system."

Reclining-bunk feature pictured in VNL 62-inch sleeperGreater sleeper width for the 62-inch sleeper means the reclining-bunk feature of larger sleepers in the prior VNL generation is now available here.

Upper bunk and storage in Volvo VNL sleeperLikewise the double-bunk configuration in this truck -- if "you're not using it for sleeping, it makes for nice storage" and is liftable for better overhead space, Stadler said.

The wardrobe now includes an airplane-type latch, and the sleeper is outfitted for effective refrigerator connection and microwave/TV prep kits on the other side, expanding ease of obtaining the comforts and features of a home on the road. That extends to the stereo system. "You can order it with a subwoofer and amplifier as well for a better system," Stadler said, making good on "driver and customer clinics" Volvo held "to find out what's important to them" prior to finalizing design changes. 

[Related: A quick spin in Volvo's all-new VNL]

Volvo VNL grille image


Chris Stadler: My name's Chris Stadler, I'm product marketing manager for Volvo trucks, responsible for long haul, and also part of the launching of this all new Volvo VNL. Pretty much majority of this is all new, and it starts from the front where you’ve got the wedge shape design of the truck. You've got specific vents purposely designed to help air management inside, underneath the hood compartment as well. You can see tight tolerances. We've actually lowered the LED headlamps as well. They're more integrated, there’s more control when it comes to temperature support. And then here in the front, we've added fog lamps with cornering lamps to the truck, so now when you're making that turn in a slow maneuver to the right or left, it actually lights up on the side here, giving better visibility.

These air intakes are all designed for ventilation and keeping the engine compartment efficiently cooled down. It also has exhaust vents here as well to help-

Take that trapped heat out from the back side. We'll close out some more aerodynamics as you go down the side of the vehicle. Also, you have the sloped windshield here that's kind of wrapped around the A-pillars. As you can see, it comes into the A-pillar design and then it transitions up to the roof line, giving a more aerodynamic slope there, and then that carries on onto the back of the truck as well from... Actually gives it closer connection to the tractor and to the trailer.

When you take it back here, you can see some nice features when it comes to approach lighting for the driver. So when they come up, they can hit their key fob and allow some approach lighting that lights up the vehicle. Nice ingress egress step. So it's improved there to get better support and better safety of entering and exiting the truck.

And then also a nice new feature we brought in there is one handle release of the chassis fairings. So before you could have two handles to deal with. Now we made it much easier, much more secure. As you can see here, we have 24 volt electrical architecture. Our system is all 24 volts for higher voltage but less amperage, so less heat, less wear and tear on the components. And you can see it's 12 volt batteries, but it's also in series to make the 24 volts. So you've got six of them here because this supports our parking cooler. We also have our Volvo parking cooler. That's new to the market as well.

It also comes with an ultracapacitor and that helps with charging. So it also helps the state of the health of the batteries, keeping the batteries healthy much longer, but also gives an extra charge to help start the truck. Again, tight lines, closures of DEF tanks and fuel tanks here. We've kind of combined the DEF tank with the fuel tank because we're trying to again, close the gap between the tractor and the trailer. So we've moved a lot of things forward to create that aerodynamic close.

As we move back here, you can kind of see we have cabs high fairing extensions that are going to close the gap, but also when it comes to reachability, where once you get a little bit tightness between the tractor and the trailer, sometimes it will tighten the squeeze back here. So now we have this option of-

And allow you to get your airline connections or access to back of the cab. New camera options as well. We've got a backup camera today. Now we're going to carry it over into the new truck, but also options for additional cameras. So if a customer wants to have multiple cameras on their trucks, they can actually connect seven cameras in total. Six more cameras there. They can do five up there. As you can see a plug in there. And then they can actually connect to their trailer. So if they're married to their trailer a lot, they can actually run... Get a camera set up on that one and get back a camera.

Move back here, you can kind of see a new suspension that we're going to offer. We're bringing over our global rear air suspension called GRAS. We like acronyms by the way. Here you can kind of see it's got some V-Rods. It's got eight bags of suspension support. This is more of a non-torque reactive suspension. So when you get in torque reactive suspension, you kind of get that aggressiveness pulling forward to try to lunge it forward as you accelerate. This one will set down and it'll basically adjust to any type of suspension or any type of load out there, whether you're unloaded or fully loaded. It's going to feel the same way every time.

On the other side, we’ve got a new linear exhaust aftertreatment system. It's basically better in terms of its more linear, that you don't have to have a lot of cycling through that one system, and we're seeing the possibility of improving our service intervals with that. But the great thing about it, if it does need servicing, it's easy to change out the filter and the same time it's divided up into three sections, allowing if you have a replacement of the DEF area or the SCR, it's easy to interchange it without having to take the complete system out.

We've had a chance to redesign the interior as well. With the new truck you can kind of see that the cockpit, it's almost built around the driver. We have narrowed in the A-pillars a little bit, so it is a little bit narrower than before, than what we have today. But then as you go to the B-pillars, what we say behind the seats here, it widens back out. So it gives them a nice view. Don't really give you a tightness back here in the back area. This is our 62-inch sleeper. We do have a 74-inch sleeper as well to offer. In the front here you can see a digital cluster. So we have an instrument cluster that's digital now. Then you have new stalk controls now. We have the gear shifter now behind the steering wheel, so they can easily turn it to drive, neutral, reverse. And the engine brake is also incorporated into that as well. So nice, easily convenient.

This one has a push button start. So we've made it as simple as much as we can, keeping the driver focused on driving. Put the controls in their hands on the steering wheel so they can do their cruise control settings, their sound stereo. They can go through their menus. So actually the driver information display will show a lot of information what they need on the truck. We also have an infotainment here. The infotainment is designed to also give additional gauge support if they need that additional information. But it also is connected to the cameras. So when you have those multiple cameras connected up to your truck, it'll broadcast it into this infotainment. So now they can see it in their infotainment, not have to worry about having an additional monitor here for their camera.

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission