Fuel consumption is extremely important. The world is moving towards electric power as a cleaner mode of transportation. However, in the meantime we still have to use conventional trucks, powered by internal combustion engines. Over decades they became mighty efficient, but did they reach their limit? Apparently, no. Now Volvo Truck has managed to make its D13 diesel engines slightly more efficient.
Modern diesel truck engines are already pretty good on fuel. They have to be due to strict environmental regulation. Standards are difficult to meet, but truck manufacturers manage to do that. And there is still some left to give. In particular, in those situations when drivers cannot or choose not to engage cruise control.
Cruise control systems make sure that the vehicle sticks to a preset speed and uses as much throttle as it absolutely needs. This helps maintaining low fuel consumption, because acceleration and deceleration are very gradual and smooth. Volvo Trucks still recommend using their cruise control system, called I-Cruise, but when for some reason it is not a good choice, drivers can turn to the new Volvo Torque Assist.
Volvo Torque Assist is a system, designed specifically for those situations when you cannot use cruise control. In fact, you can only engage one of them at a time. Volvo Torque Assist reads the surface of the road, driving style and the weight of the load to adjust the engine torque to an optimal setting. This means that even when the driver is the one pushing the accelerator, computer is constantly thinking how much torque can and should be delivered to move the vehicle along, but not to burn too much diesel fuel.
A video introduction to the new Volvo Torque Assist system
Volvo Trucks also remapped the accelerator pedal to make it less responsive. It makes for a more controllable acceleration, which is smoother and requires less fuel. Also, engineers ensured that the amount of injected fuel remains constant after the engine’s ‘green range’ has been passed. This reduces the performance, but boosts the efficiency.
All in all this reduces fuel consumption by up to 3 %. Not much, right? Well, nowadays every little bit counts. Peter Hardin, Director Product Management at Volvo Trucks, said: “The new software also gives a more significant result with heavy loads, many slope changes or large speed variations, while drivers transporting lighter loads with constant speed on flat roads will save less fuel. In field tests we have actually seen examples of a larger potential for savings, than the 3%”.
Volvo introduced some hardware changes too – engine management has been improved, turbochargers were optimized and internal friction has been reduced. This accounts to fuel savings of about 1 %. These improvements are introduced to D13 diesel engines for Euro 3, Euro 4, Euro 5 and EEV markets.
Source: Volvo Trucks