Volvo’s dual clutch and dynamic steering

By: Steve Skinner

volvo1 A 13 litre driveline at the Volvo demo centre, with a dual clutch in the middle. volvo1
volvo4 A 60 tonne FH 540 truck and dog combination, the equivalent of our linehaul B doubles. This one has a 13 litre engine with the dual clutch option. volvo4
volvo5 Volvo Sweden driver trainer Anders Johansson. volvo5
volvo6 The electronic Volvo Dynamic Steering unit. volvo6

On a recent visit to Sweden with Volvo Trucks, the big Swede’s dual clutch and dynamic steering innovations got a workout


Having driven heaps of Volvos on test drives and for real, I’m a big fan of Volvo’ s I-Shift automated manual transmission.

Earlier Volvo AMTs seemed to be slow off the mark at lights, but take-off and cog-swapping is responsive and smooth on later Volvos.

The new dual clutch option, available for the 13-litre engine but not yet in Australia, takes this smoothness to a new level.

To put it very simply, gears are automatically pre-selected.

It’s like driving a full automatic, with not even a momentary delay between gears. There seemed to be no loss of torque whatsoever to the drive wheels on the steep hill at Volvo’s demo centre in Gothenburg, the HQ of Volvo in Sweden.

But Volvo says the dual clutch technology is cheaper than a full automatic.

Volvo driver trainer Anders Johansson says he knows Swedish FH 13 logging truck drivers who especially like the dual clutch in wet, muddy conditions because the gear changes are so fast they prevent wheel spin.

Dynamic steering safety

Meanwhile the electronically assisted "dynamic steering" option in the test trucks was amazing. You could drive over a series of built-in bumps in the road without needing your hands on the steering wheel.

Despite the obvious movement in the truck and trailers, the steering wheel didn’t deviate one iota.

Meanwhile for sharp turning in tight spots at low speed, you only need one finger on the wheel.

Volvo says the system is fast enough to handle the shock from a steer tyre blowout, which sounds like yet another great Volvo safety feature to us.



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