Category: Tractor Units

Reference Library – Tractor Units


Introducing Volvo’s New VNR Regional Haul

MONTREAL, Que. — Volvo’s new VNR regional haul truck made a flashy debut at ExpoCam this week, in front hundreds of customers, dealers, and industry press. The truck, which will replace the VNM, features a more modern interior and aerodynamic design.

It will be about 3.5% more fuel-efficient than a VNM with GHG14 engine, according to Wade Long, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America.

Brian Balicki, chief designer, said Volvo looked to motorsports for inspiration, and set out to design a truck that embodied the terms: bold, edgy, innovative, modern, and human.

Volvo VNR 400

“We really translated these statements into the product,” Balicki said at the ExpoCam launch. “We wanted to make sure this was an iconic design, that many years down the road this will still feel very modern and people will know from very far away that this is a Volvo truck.”

The exterior features a redesigned hood that provides better visibility of the road. It’s also 70 lbs lighter. A new honeycomb-style grille gives the truck an updated appearance. Headlights are mounted in from the edge of the fenders to prevent damage. The three-piece bumper has two replaceable end caps that can be swapped out when broken.

The interior of the truck is more homey, with an automotive-inspired design and many new amenities for the driver. For example, a refrigerated passenger seat, where a driver can store beverages within reach. Balicki said Volvo looked to the airline industry for inspiration when designing the interior, specifically at how first class cabins are designed.

“With the new VNR, we brought aesthetics – it’s pleasing to the eye – and we brought aerodynamics to a segment that has not historically had that brought to them,” said Long.

The new grille was designed to optimize air flow, and comes with a chrome bezel grille surround. Options include rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic headlights. More than 2,000 drivers were interviewed during the design process, Long said.

“Regional drivers had different needs,” he said. “There are more requirements for ingress and egress, they’re in and out of the cab frequently. We wanted to make sure our VNR was designed around that.”
Three interior levels are offered. The cab features a new modular rail system with cupholders that can be placed exactly where the driver wants them. And there is no shortage of power options; there are multiple USB and 12-volt power outlets in the front and up to 12 in the sleeper.

The VNR driver environment.

Long said the steering wheel has been redesigned and can now be rotated 32 degrees, with a 4.5-inch telescoping range. There’s also a 30-degree head tilt feature. Long said this was done to make comfortable a wider variety of drivers.

“The stature of the driver pool is changing,” he said. “We can accommodate the shortest to tallest driver.”

Up to 19 buttons can be placed on the steering wheel for easy access to controls. A new five-inch color driver display lets drivers know at a glance if something requires their attention. The driver display can be controlled using the buttons on the steering wheel.

Interior lighting also received a lot of attention. Cool blue lighting is provided throughout the cab, because research indicates that color makes drivers feel better rested at the end of a driving shift. Red reading lights are available and a new “puddle lamp” shines from the bottom of the door onto the steps and ground when the door is open. Deeper door pockets are provided for increased storage.

Long said the seats have also been redesigned, providing two inches of additional travel and improved positioning, including a lower hip point for shorter drivers. There are seven seats available, in all interior packages.

“Customers found drivers want the same seat in every cab they have,” he said. “Now they can have the same seat in all their cabs, you don’t have to worry about having different (seat) features in different levels of interior.”

Cooled seats are also offered.

Volvo achieved a 113-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) measurement, while adding four more inches of corner visibility, due to the new hood. The 3.5% fuel efficiency improvement is due in part to the more aerodynamic design, but also enhancements to Volvo’s D-series engines. Long said the D11, which is now available with up to 425 hp, will be a popular option in the new VNR. It provides customers with about 365 lbs in weight savings compared to a 13-liter. Design improvements have taken about 175 lbs out of the truck. The VNR shown at ExpoCam weighed in at 14,500 lbs, dry.

Models include the 300 (day cab, flat roof), 400 (42-inch mid-roof sleeper), and 640 (61-inch mid-roof sleeper).

The regional haul truck market is growing, as fleets shorten average haul lengths and attempt to get drivers home more regularly. Last year, regional haul trucks represented 21% of the Canadian Class 8 truck market.

The new truck will enter production in August, but orders are being taken immediately. The tagline for the VNR was “the shape of trucks to come,” suggesting, just perhaps, that a new linehaul tractor is in the works. But Volvo officials were unwilling to share any details about other models that may, or may not be, in development.


Trump-loving tow truck driver says God told him to leave disabled Bernie Sanders supporter stranded

How to flip a Trump voter without pushing too hard Kasich issues f*ck you to GOP chair: Trump and Priebus responsible for potential national wipeout Jill Stein insists Trump is less dangerous than Clinton and attacks Bernie Sanders as a DC insider Factually untrue : Corey Lewandowski gets CNN smackdown for blaming NYC blast on immigrants Anti-government kook suspected in New Mexico bomb plot radicalized online, father says Roaches, expired veal stock and deadly mousse: Trump restaurants are infamous for dirty dining Police identify 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami as suspect in NYC dumpster bombing WATCH: Missouri Democrat trolls the NRA and gun nuts in 2016 s best campaign ad Trump says bombs will be going off all over the country because we ve been weak Marijuana legalization could be the next gold rush for California


This Week in Fiction: Petina Gappah on the Insular World of …

Petina Gappah s story A Short History of Zaka the Zulu appears in this week s issue of The New Yorker. Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY MARINA CAVAZZA Y our story in this week s issue, A Short History of Zaka the Zulu [1] , is set at the College of Loyola, a Jesuit school in Zimbabwe that is based on a school you attended. Does the story draw on your own experiences? It doesn t draw on my experiences but it does draw on my memories. I spent the final two years of high school studying English literature, history, and Shona at St. Ignatius College, which is the top school in Zimbabwe, renowned for its academic performance and stellar results. In my time, the school took forty girls at A-Level, to join the four hundred or so boys from Form 1 to Form 6 who made up the rest of the school. We girls were supposed to have a civilizing influence on the boys. I can t say how successful we were at achieving that mission, because there was certainly nothing civilized about the boys crowding around the school balconies to watch us swim! For the most part, though, the boys were sweet and adorable, and many of them have remained dear friends. What I loved the most about being there was that it was a school that encouraged excellence and competition but not rivalry we were coevals competing to bring out the best in one another, not rivals fighting to knock one another down. What made you a former Mary Ward decide to write the story from the perspective of the male students at the school? And why did you choose to use the first-person plural? About four years ago, I was invited to give a speech at the school s Prize-Giving Day. I had not been back during term time since I left. It struck me then how incredibly young the boys were, even the oldest of them. That realization inspired me to write a story about the closed and insular world of boarding school, and about the choices that teen-agers can make in the arrogant belief that they know everything. I don t believe in the write what you know school of writing; I believe in writing what I can realistically imagine. I love to write across class, across race, across sex and gender, and I wanted badly to put myself in the shoes of those boys. It would have been too easy to write it from the girls perspective; I wanted to push myself by imagining another. As for the voice: I am currently writing a historical novel about the journey undertaken by the African companions of the Scottish explorer David Livingstone to carry his body from the African interior to the coast, so that he could be buried in his own land. It is a large and busy novel I just hope it will be polyphonic rather than cacophonic and one of the voices is a chorus of the sixty or so men who travelled with the body. As I have never studied creative writing, everything I know about writing has come from trying and failing, and, most of all, from reading. I read everything I could find that was written in that kind of collective voice, so as to learn from better writers. There are very few examples because it is such a tricky voice to get right, particularly in a novel, unless you are Jeffrey Eugenides in the sublime The Virgin Suicides. Then I read Faulkner s A Rose for Emily , and the idea of trying that voice out in a short story came to me at once. What do you think drove Nicodemus to do what he did? It seems possible that he actually liked Zaka and wanted to have his genuine friendship. Was blackmail the only way for him to get what he wanted? That s such a great question. Nicodemus is desperate to be accepted, but he does things in a clumsy way that alienates the other boys, such as suggesting a nickname for himself. These little things are hugely important in schools with rigid codes and protocols. I suspect that Nicodemus would have used the money he tried to blackmail from the first boy (who died) to try to buy friendship, but, that having failed, he manipulates Zaka into behaving like a friend. You are right to say that he probably does like Zaka, but the tragedy with manipulative people is that there is often a war within them between their better instincts and their need to control people. The lust for power becomes intoxicating and kills what could have been a real relationship. Is it relevant that Nicodemus is a scholarship student from a poor family, whereas Zaka comes from better circumstances? It is not so much that Zaka is from a better-off family at that sort of school at that time, the late eighties or early nineties, all the boys would come from quite similar family circumstances, even the scholarship students. It is simply that Zaka is from a more loving, or perhaps I should say more engaged, family. They come to see him, bringing him food, and they cheer him on when he does well, while Nicodemus, whose parents are probably struggling with younger brothers and sisters at home, are unable to do so. Nicodemus is probably the first child in the family to get to this kind of school, and his poor parents simply don t realize what s expected in terms of visits and support. The tragedy at the center of the story is triggered by an affair between two boys at the school, who are blackmailed by a fellow-student. What would have happened to the boys if they had been discovered by someone else, someone in a position of authority? Would they have been punished? Disgraced? They would most certainly have been expelled. And that would have blighted their futures. Education is everything in Zimbabwe. Partly because it was bottlenecked in Rhodesia, and thus a scarce resource, with black students competing for few places, parents of schoolchildren there still have a passion for education that I must say I have not seen anywhere else. I know a truck driver who recently sold his house just so that his daughter could go to university in Cyprus. Zimbabweans, black Zimbabweans, are raised with the idea that education is crucial to success. It s part of the reason that the fake-Ph.D. industry thrives there! So it is less criminal sanctions that the boys would fear homosexual acts, even between consenting adults, are illegal in Zimbabwe than the prospect of being kicked out of school and the disgrace that that would bring to them and their families. Zaka is so good at chess the ultimate game of strategy but fails completely when it comes to being strategic in his own life. He alienates almost everyone. Is that an intentional irony on your part? That s such a great observation. I had not thought about it that way at all. But yes, Zaka is a poor strategist. And he does not mean to alienate anyone. He is just really caught up in the idea of what it means to be the perfect schoolboy. He derives his primary identity from being a Loyolan, a good Catholic. It is an image that does not reflect his deepest nature, which is why he is at war with himself, and with others. It s why he spends so long in the confessional, and why, when he is forced to leave university, he finds himself back in the valley, with a view of his old school, wearing the uniform he wore when he was head prefect. A Short History of Zaka the Zulu will appear in your new collection, Rotten Row, which will be published by Faber & Faber in the U.K. in November. Do the stories in the collection have a thematic link? There is indeed a thematic link in the collection. Rotten Row is the street in Harare on which you find the Criminal Division of the Magistrate s Court. The book is made up of twenty stories about crime, seen from different perspectives. I also experiment with different approaches to storytelling: I use a court judgment, an autopsy report, and an Internet discussion forum, as well as other voices. I love the short story and want to master the form. I love the sentence-by-sentence, word-level attention that the short story demands, and that is its greatest pleasure. References ^ A Short History of Zaka the Zulu (