Volvo Trucks North America is introducing a new truck, the Volvo Autohauler, to maximize freight capacity for the automobile transport business.
The VAH is a day cab with a lower chassis than standard models, a short bumper-to-back-of-cab dimension and an EPA 2010 engine.
“The lower chassis reduces the overall height of the truck, allowing a car, pick-up or minivan to be positioned over the cab to maximize the efficiency of every delivery,” said Ron Huibers, VTNA senior vice president of sales and marketing.
The design also features an axle-forward configuration to improve weight distribution.
“In our business, the truck cab needs to be as small as possible to maximize loading space,” said Steve Hansen, executive vice president, Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport. “The cab height, frame height and BBC dimensions are very important.”
Hansen, whose company operates 325 trucks, ordered one of the first prototypes and worked closely with Volvo Trucks as it refined the design and prepared for production. He recently placed an order for 40 new Volvo Autohaulers.
Cassens Transport Co., which operates 1,200 trucks, also ordered a VAH prototype, selecting it primarily because of its cab dimensions. Minimizing cab height is particularly important for Cassens, which delivers to many older cities along the East Coast, where low overpasses are often a concern.
“The whole game is about inches and the VAH offers the lowest cab available,” said Brian Suhre, Cassens Transport vice president of facilities and equipment. “Yet when you get inside, the interior is spacious and doesn’t feel mechanical. It’s like driving a nice passenger car.”
Volvo Trucks’ EPA 2010 solution, with No Regen Selective Catalytic Reduction, improves fuel efficiency by 5 percent or more over EPA 2007 engines, the company said. Available with a Volvo D11 or D13 engine, the VAH can deliver up to 500 hp.
The VAH is available with a Volvo I-Shift transmission. The transmission system continuously monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque demand, weight and air resistance. With the engine and transmission in constant communication, I-Shift automatically selects the best gear for the engine.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.