European Volvo shows off potent engine

Sweden's Volvo Truck Corp. (VTC), the parent company of Volvo Trucks North America, has introduced a new truck for the European market, the FH16.

However, it is the engine — a D16C — that comes with this vehicle that will be of greatest interest to fleets in the U.S. Since the FH16 is designed to haul more weight, it requires a more powerful engine.

The D16C is an in-line 6-cyl. turbocharged 16.1-L diesel with two ratings: 550 hp. producing about 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque; and 610 hp. cranking out about 1,900 lb.-ft. of torque.

The engine weighs 220 lb. less than Volvo's current big bore powerplant, the D12, and gets 2-3% better fuel economy. But since it doesn't yet meet U.S. '02 emissions standards, it could be some time before it's available here.

The big pulling power of the D16C, coupled with its improved fuel economy, address the issue of reducing traffic congestion by making trucks more productive. In other words, enabling them to carry more weight without increasing fleet operating expenses.

In Europe, the average price of diesel is $3.80 per equivalent gallon.

The issue of size and weight became more critical when a survey by the European Union predicted that truck freight would increase by 38% between 1998 and 2010.

Anders Edin, manager of product planning for Volvo Truck Corp., said that European truck manufacturers believe that the use of more powerful trucks, higher gross combination weight ratings (GCWR), and longer vehicles would be the best way to handle projected demand for freight transport — without putting more trucks on the road.

Trucks in most European countries are limited to a length of 18.75 meters (53 ft.) and 40 tons gross weight (more than 80,000 lb.).

Sweden and Finland, however, allow 25.25 meters (80 ft.) and 60 tons (130,000 lb.).

Edin said that allowing larger and heavier rigs — equipped with more pulling power — to operate throughout Europe, could help reduce traffic congestion.

“In practice, this means that two 25.25-meter rigs can carry as much cargo as two 16.5-meter semi-trailer rigs and an 18.75-meter rig consisting of a rigid truck and a trailer,” Edin explained.

The FH16 was introduced during a special press event held at Sandos Island, Sweden, last month.