Lucas Roberto | Fleet Maintenance
All-new Volvo VNL

Walkthrough of the all-new Volvo VNL

Feb. 19, 2024
The Volvo VNL was first introduced in 1996 and revamped in 2002, and the model coming out this year marks the first major redesign of the flagship truck. In a recent visit to Volvo Trucks Customer Center, product manager Duane Tegels walked us through the changes.

While Volvo Trucks North America calls its latest VNL "all-new," it's technically only 90% new. Semantics aside, there's plenty of new features packed into the latest iteration of Volvo's flagship Class 8 truck, which was purpose-built for North American customers with efficiency at the forefront.

Specifically, the aerodynamic and powertrain changes not only result in 10% fuel savings over previous versions of the OEM's flagship Class 8 truck, but the tractor should also produce fewer emissions and be easier to maintain. 

Since some of the vehicle's new features may fly under the radar (or under the hood), Fleet Maintenance traveled to the Volvo Trucks Customer Center in Dublin, Virginia to get a first-hand walkthrough from Duane Tegels, VTNA product marketing manager.

[Skip to the bottom of this story to see a video walkthrough.]

A large majority (70%) of the efficiency gains come from a sleeker cab design. These include a wedge-shaped cab with a sloped windshield, more aerodynamic roofline, and enhancements to the Flow Below aero kits. Furthermore, air flow was redirected to cool the engine. Altogether, Tegels said that these aerodynamic improvements make a massive impact on efficiency.

“The average truck takes about 325 horsepower to go down the road at approximately 65 miles an hour over rolling hills,” he said, and VTNA’s aerodynamic improvements have “reduced that power requirement by approximately 16 horsepower at 65 miles an hour and 29 horsepower at 75 miles an hour. So what that allows us to do is use different gearing in the rear axle ratio, vastly down speeding the engine to let it run at lower RPMs. lower RPMs over the truck’s lifecycle increases the overall life expectancy of the components.”

Aerodynamic changes aren’t the only tweaks impacting the VNL’s ease of maintenance, however. When it comes to the transmission, VTNA's engineers “reduced the throw on [the clutch] from 4 to 2 millimeters and also increased the counter shaft brake, so it actually slows the counter shaft down to do quicker shifting in the transmission,” Tegels explained. This change allows the vehicle “to use faster ratios to improve the performance of the vent engine,” reducing overall wear and tear to keep engine components in better shape for longer.

The final significant adjustment the product manager outlines is the new linear exhaust system, which is broken up into separate sections. “Each one of these components can be individually serviced, reducing your overall maintenance cost,” Tegels concluded.

About the Author

Lucas Roberto

Lucas Roberto is an Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. He has written and produced multimedia content over the past few years and is a newcomer to the commercial vehicle industry. He holds a bachelor's in media production and a master's in communication from High Point University in North Carolina.