Years Of Testing Behind Top Class Urban Driving
Volvo Trucks’ new Volvo FE and Volvo FL trucks are easier to drive in urban environments than ever before. This promise is based on years of testing and product development. Indeed, to guarantee efficiency and maximum driver comfort, everything has been tested – from steering wheel and mirror vibration to engine noise levels.
One of the most important parameters in the development of the new Volvo FE and Volvo FL has been to facilitate the driver’s work situation by creating a truck that is both easy to drive and comfortable.
“We want to offer our customers high-quality products. It is just as important for trucks to overcome the purely physical challenges as it is for them to comply with customer needs and expectations,” says Hayder Wokil, Quality Director at Volvo Trucks.
Field tests at customers
Karli Walter, who has been driving distribution trucks for the Swiss haulage company, Gabriel, for 14 years, has been testing the new Volvo FL for the last seven months.
“The best features in the new Volvo FL are its overall accessibility and its excellent manoeuvrability. When I need to drive through narrow streets and tight spaces, it’s sensational. This new model is more powerful, it has a larger payload and it’s fun to drive,” he says.
Of all the tests Volvo Trucks conducts, field tests are some of the most important. They are used to secure that the advanced product development is match real-life conditions.
“The feedback from test drivers is extremely valuable for us. It’s the confirmation of everything we do,” says Hayder Wokil. “At the end of the day, it’s a question of one self-evident factor: quite simply, meeting our customers’ expectations,”.
Low noise level optimised for city driving
One of the most important factors when it comes to driver comfort is low noise levels in the cab. For this reason, every single detail – from mirror, seat and steering wheel vibration to the sound made by the engine and windows – has been thoroughly studied and evaluated. Thanks to the totally new Euro-6 engines, the engine noise registered in the cab has been significantly reduced.
“The new engines have a lower engine speed, making them quieter and more optimised for driving in city environments. The greatest advantage when it comes to a quieter cab is that the driver is less tired and an alert driver is also more attentive and therefore safer,” says Tobias Bergman, Product Manager FE and FL trucks at Volvo Trucks.
Verification of total service life of the truck
Another important part in the improvement of the driver’s work environment is comfort tests on uneven roads, over bumps and potholes. The vibrations in the trucks are measured and they can then be reproduced right down to the lowest level of shaking in a laboratory.
After thorough testing on laboratory rigs, the trucks – including new Euro-6 engines and the automated I-Shift transmission – have covered lap after lap on Volvo Trucks’ test track in Sweden. The capacity of the transmission has been tested when starting on hills with gradients of up to 25%.
“We have then conducted accelerated endurance tests on the complete vehicle. These are some of our most comprehensive tests in which the total service life of the truck is verified. In all, these new models are driven 12,000 kms (7,500 mls) on the challenging test track and open roads, which corresponds to over 500,000 kms (300,000 mls) – or the service life of a truck – in normal driving conditions,” says Hayder Wokil.