Volvo Trucks India has set the bar higher with its Heavy-Duty range of FM and FMX trucks. Ashish Bhatia gives a lowdown on the strategy banking on these new workhorses.

Volvo Trucks India is a well-established player in the premium Heavy-Duty (HD) trucks segment. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is not one to rest on its past laurels though and draws from its legacy when it comes to keeping on pushing fronts like innovation and product refinement. It’s offerings go-beyond the pursuit of offering tailor-made solutions for the intended customer and their respective duty cycles. The OEM, in India, is yet again setting the bar higher with late last year’s launch of the Volvo HD range of FM and FMX trucks. The company’s India strategy of setting a new benchmark with diverse applications, as per the company’s Senior Vice President, B Dinakar is to set a new benchmark. To attain the objective, the company is banking on its new workhorses.

Volvo Trucks India (Volvo Trucks) customers can chose from six HD trucks launched in the second quarter of Financial Year 2021 (Q2 FY2021). In an exclusive chat with Commercial Vehicle Magazine, B Dinakar shared the rationale behind this significant portfolio. “Our trucks serve in some of the most demanding and time-critical applications and this new range of trucks are built to push the limits of productivity with a strong focus on improving the driver environment and safety,” he stated. Backing it with equally industry benchmark service, “Volvo Trucks in India with this range has expanded its range of transport solutions,” he expressed.

The new portfolio is expected to help it to cater to the unique requirements of various applications in India, in line with the strategy to create a pull with the modern, productivity- and safety-oriented trucks. For example, the FMX 460 8×4 20.3 cu.m truck is designed to deliver a superior combination of agility and durability aimed at the mining segment. With the FMX 460 8×4 20.3 cu.m and the FMX 460 8×4 33 cu. m as solutions, the company is confident of serving well its coal transportation set of customers. The OEM has upped the ante with FMX 500 8×4 off-road dump truck, claimed to be a completely new solution for tough mining application requirements. It boasts of increased front axle loads of 20-tonnes and a 38-tonne bogie. Expected to be deployed by fleet owners in some of the most demanding assignments, it comes with an additional 15 per cent higher-rated payload capacity, cited B Dinakar.

Beyond the proven performances in the mining segment, Volvo Trucks India, he admitted, long-harboured the intent of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to diversify beyond mining. A testimony to this vision fructifying is the FM 420 8×4 23 cu.m solution designed especially for road construction and mega infrastructure projects. On the other end of the spectrum, the FM 420 4×2 tractor solution is designed for high-speed, long haul applications like e-Commerce, Just-In-Time (JIT) supply chains backed by a focus on enhancing driver comfort, improved aerodynamics and offering better connectivity. Synonymous with Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) movement, Volvo Trucks, in India, has also added the FM 500 6×4 puller to its portfolio.


Differentiating factors

Volvo Trucks India has delivered on its promise to enhance productivity and driver comfort through incorporation of differentiating factors, opined B Dinakar. For starters, the OEM has increased the cabin volume by 1000-litres in turn enhancing the working expanse. Adding to the driver cockpit is a larger windscreen, lowered door lines, and new mirrors. These additions are claimed to have enhanced driver visibility by a margin of 10 per cent. It directly correlates with driver safety, he quipped. In addition, driver comfort is also claimed to have been enhanced significantly over the predecessors with the inclusion of better Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels attained across the board. In the case of the FMX 500, the OEM has also fitted a passenger corner camera giving the operator the provision of coupling it with four additional cameras to further enhance the visibility much like the European counterparts.

The OEM has also installed a new interface to its driver consoles. The new layer of information and communication is aimed at offering a simpler, easier to navigate interface for better accessibility to the in-built functions without the risk of the driver being distracted during the drive. The front-end is powered by a digital, 12-inch driver interface that relays the performance and maintenance parameters like the pre-trip check and intuitive traction display. In select variants, there is a supplementary nine-inch touch screen display that encompasses infotainment, phone connectivity, driver guide, real-time driver behaviour mapping, transport information and camera monitoring.

The operator additionally has the flexibility to choose from Android Auto among other third-party app installed based on the customer’s application. Drivers can also connect their phones to the truck through Bluetooth for a more comprehensive connected experience.

The suite of enhanced safety systems and improved operational efficiency is made up of a rear-view camera on all mining trucks. This is aimed at ensuring safety while loading and unloading. The new generation trucks are equipped with Electronic Braking System (EBS) as a standard inclusion. Through downhill cruise control, drivers can set the maximum speed and avoid any accidental or unwanted acceleration, especially when travelling downhill in a laden state. This is also expected to increase the brake life. Volvo Trucks has also upgraded the I-shift lever by loading it with new software said to offer additional drive modes. The engine management system version 2.4 is said to be a significant upgrade over the predecessor 2.2 and boasts of design upgrades as well. The I-Roll function aids in disengaging the engine in an ‘Idle’ scenario.

The new trucks offer better aerodynamics and real-time driver coaching which in turn facilitates an improved fuel efficiency. The service offerings are further made more comprehensive and leverage digitalisation with the help of ‘Volvo Connect’ telematics solution acting as a hub for accessing performance parameters. It includes fleet management services like positioning, and performance-boosting services like fuel and environment for real-world tracking and driver skills on an individual basis. Here the 12 Volvo uptime centres spread across India are known to play a crucial role. In another benchmark, the engine oil drain interval has been increased by up to 20 per cent.

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