Kevin Jones | FleetOwner
VTNA's Magnus Gustafson, VP, connected services, highlights the advantages of improved connectivity with the new Volvo VNL.

Volvo highlights connectivity, increased serviceability, maintenance plan

March 13, 2024
At TMC's 2024 Annual Meeting, Volvo delved into its newly launched VNL, connected vehicle monitoring, and how the VNL's components contribute to a longer service life.

NEW ORLEANS—Touting the recently launched Volvo VNL as “the most connected truck ever built by Volvo,” Volvo Trucks North America representatives detailed a range of benefits that enhanced connectivity will bring to customers—including annual savings of up to $3,400, based on improved uptime. The company featured a new Volvo VNL in its display at the American Trucking Associations Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition here.

Customers will experience increased uptime through even more accurate, data-based maintenance and key product design elements targeted to save fleets time and money, explained Magnus Gustafson, VP, connected services, during a press briefing.

“Leveraging our connected services such as remote diagnostics and remote programming, we have seen a reduction of up to 24% of unplanned stops through actionable insights to ensure that we don't take trucks out of service for items that can be handled during normal maintenance windows,” Gustafson said. “The entire truck is now capable of being updated remotely. Furthermore, we have decreased programming times, and we have made improvements to our remote diagnostics service, which is even more accurate than it has ever been before.”

Likewise, trucks are monitored by the 24/7 Volvo Uptime Center, and Volvo Trucks took its commitment to the customer a step further with the launch of the all-in-one fleet management portal, Volvo Connect, last fall.

See also: Walkthrough of the all-new Volvo VNL

Volvo Connect suite of services

The suite of connected services offered by Volvo Trucks continues to grow following the launch of Volvo Connect.

Through Volvo Connect, customers can monitor their trucks in near real-time, see pending remote programming updates, and manage vehicle health data and safety items. The ability to see pending remote programming update availability in specific trucks from one single portal allows fleet managers to notify drivers to perform the update the next time they are stopped and safely parked.

With the My Truck App, drivers can also receive insights on engine fluid levels, washer fluid, and potential light faults before they arrive at their truck to begin their pre-trip inspection. They can also set the climate control to reach their preferred temperature before arriving to start their shift.

“You can do comparisons to top-performing vehicles, bottom-performing vehicles, find correlations between operating routes, and so forth,” Gustafson said. “Parameter settings have been very insightful for our customers: Road speed limit—what is the truck actually set at?—and idle shutdown, all of which can also be configured over the air."

Extended service intervals

Volvo Trucks engineers also have redesigned VNL components for increased serviceability and longer service intervals.

The Volvo VNL features a redesigned exhaust aftertreatment system, providing both longer service intervals and the ability to be serviced in three separate components. The diesel oxidation catalyst, the DPF, and the SCR can all be serviced or replaced individually, avoiding the unnecessary disposal of a unit that still has extensive operational life remaining.

In addition to the improved serviceability of the EATS, Volvo Trucks engineers were also able to reduce the overall component weight by 75 lb. and increase the service interval of the DPF to approximately 630,000 miles, according to the manufacturer.

Longer service intervals have also been achieved in the all-new Volvo VNL due to advancements in certain components: air dryer, engine air filter, HVAC filters, oil drain intervals, fuel filters, and more. Additionally, valve adjustment intervals have been extended by nearly 20%.

In addition, Volvo Trucks has set a new standard for the North American trucking industry with the introduction of the 24-volt electrical architecture on the VNL. The 24-volt system has been proven in the European market and will be necessary for North America and the future of commercial transportation, Gustafson suggested.

“This enables us to have smaller components, thinner wires, with higher reliability and less weight on the vehicle,” he said. “But first and foremost, this enables faster, more accurate diagnostics for remotely troubleshooting a vehicle.” 

Blue Service Contracts

As an added level of service and customer care, Volvo Trucks introduced the Blue Service Contract at TMC in 2023.

With the Blue Service Contract, the truck is monitored by the dealership, and customers have a dedicated fleet manager who will proactively schedule the truck for service, making sure a service bay is ready with the needed parts and supplies and that a certified technician is available to complete the service on time and get the customer back on the road.

Additional service events, which are due soon, will be pulled forward to eliminate trips to the dealership, again maximizing customer uptime.

“It's more than just a maintenance plan,” Gustafson said. “It’s underpinned through our connected vehicle platform, optimizing maintenance intervals, finding opportunities, and reducing unplanned stops.”

Dealer-managed Blue Service Contracts also offer inflation protection for the customer, with negotiated labor and parts rates at time of purchase, and can be included in the truck financing at purchase through Volvo Financial Services.

Currently, 10 dealer groups with 53 locations are certified to sell the Blue Service Contract.  

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Kevin Jones | Editor, Trailer/Body Builders

Kevin Jones is the Editor of Trailer/Body Builders.