Volvo Trucks’ XE13 powertrain package has been given the 21st annual TWNA Technical Achievement Award by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA). The honor was announced during a ceremony at the Technology Maintenance Council’s spring meeting in Tampa, FL.

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Truck Writers of North America,” said Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North America sales & marketing. “We truly appreciate their thorough evaluations of our XE13 package, a proprietary solution that provides just a glimpse at the future potential of Volvo Trucks’ integrated powertrain.”

Introduced last fall, the XE13 package increases fuel efficiency by 3% through “downspeeding,” which is running the engine at a lower rpm at a given speed.

“The benefits of downspeeding an engine are intuitive – lower engine rpm results in less fuel consumed – but virtually impossible to achieve without a perfectly harmonized powertrain.” said Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks product manager – powertrain. “The intelligence of the Volvo I-Shift and proprietary software used in the XE13 package has created an incredible paradigm shift, so we now see the transmission controlling the engine.”

The XE13 package is available on VN series tractors with a Volvo D13 engine with 425 or 455 hp. and 1,750 lbs.-ft. of torque; a Volvo I-Shift overdrive transmission with a 0.78:1 ratio; axle ratios of 2.64 to 2.69; and proprietary software that facilitates seamless communication between Volvo’s integrated powertrain components.

According to Volvo, the XE13 operates the engine consistently in its “sweet spot” of 1,050 to 1,500 rpm. Data has indicated a 1.5% fuel efficiency improvement for every 100 rpm of downspeeding.

The concept of the XE13 “represents a sea-change in thinking as far as how the drivetrain is to be put together and could also drive a serious shift to automated transmissions in the future. It will certainly help to squeeze more energy out of each gallon of fuel,” said John Baxter, a member of the TWNA award committee.