Back in the roaring ‘20s
The 1920s was a period of rapid progress for trucks and truck transport. In the early years of the decade, trucks were very old-fashioned, often fitted with chain-drive systems and solid rubber tyres. Drivers were all too often exposed to fluctuations in temperature and the elements. When the first Volvo truck rolled off the production lines in 1928 it was, however, shaft-driven, had pneumatic tyres and the driver sat in a fully enclosed cab. Even at this early stage in truck development, Volvo trucks were built to a very high standard in terms of their reliability and quality, especially compared to non-Swedish trucks, which had not been designed with the poor Swedish climate and poor Swedish roads in mind.
Now follow the pioneering steps and read more about the early Volvo trucks of the '20s.
TVA and TVB
The late 1930s was a dark period in Europe. It became clear that a new major war was getting closer and closer. Under threat from the growing German forces, most countries started to increase their defence capability to protect themselves against a possible invasion.
Supporting the Swedish defence
The management of Volvo, being in the lead of an international company, naturally saw the signs in the sky and started to consider the design and production of military cross-country vehicles intended for the defence of Sweden in the event of a war. In 1937, a very skilled designer was employed by Volvo to design a heavy-duty high-mobility vehicle.The design of the new vehicle was completed in two years, in spite of the fact that the new off-road truck was radically different from any previous Volvo truck.
Six wheels - for off-road towing
When the 'TVA' was presented to potential customers in various parts of Europe, it proved to be a very rugged 6x4 truck intended mainly for the towing of artillery and anti-aircraft guns. In addition to six 'normal' wheels it also featured two (smaller) wheels between the first and second axle, which lowered the pressure on the ground in circumstances where the vehicle would tend to dig itself down into the soft ground.
Mechanically, the new TVA vehicle was very powerful. It featured for the first time a two-axle drive, together with extremely strong tyres of thick rubber and an off-road tread. It was powered by an extremely powerful and large petrol-engine, similar to the one used in the LV29 'Longnose' trucks but with a sump adapted to improve lubrication even when this terrain vehicle was climbing at great angles.
A unique adhesion to the ground
The most radical departure from traditional practice, however, was the use of a central frame formed by a tube, to which independent axles were attached. This design gave the vehicle a unique adhesion to the ground. Despite the front axle being non-driven, the TVA had extremely good cross-country mobility. This was, perhaps, due to the fact that a relatively limited part of the vehicle weight rested on the front axle.
Since most countries in Europe had their own national truck production, no TVA trucks were ever sold outside Sweden. A slightly improved version, the TVB, was however chosen by the Swedish Army for production in 1940, and served well in the Swedish armed forces for about two decades. Some of these TVA vehicles are still in service today as basis for cranes, operated by civilian companies who have bought these off-road trucks as surplus material from the Swedish Army.
King of the road
In the 1960s, the truck was finally crowned transportation king. This was due in no small part to its flexibility and the fact that a national and international road infrastructure was in place that enabled fast, safe and efficient truck transportation. The 1960s was, in other words, a good decade for drivers. In Sweden, certified safety cabs were launched on the market. Cabs were fitted with rubber suspension systems, drivers enjoyed the benefits of sitting on sprung seats, and the new high F/COE-cabs afforded superb visibility. Now sit back comfortably and learn more about the Volvo trucks of the '60s.
Entering the IT era
If the 1980s had been the decade of sophistication for the truck, the 1990s was a decade devoted to environmental considerations.
This led to more efficient vehicle combinations and (at the end of the decade) we saw the integration of IT-solutions such as Volvo Dynafleet 2.0, which provides haulage companies and drivers with tools that increase the efficiency and safety of each journey.
With top priority being given to cleaner emissions and low noise levels, engines were refined and, in a few cases, totally new engines were introduced, such as the revolutionary Volvo D12 . Now have a closer look at the refinement of the Volvo trucks of the '90s.
Fitted for the new Millennium
In the new millennium, demands on trucks and truck transport will be manifold. Although good transport efficiency and low transport costs remain the prime objectives, safety, ergonomics and environmental properties are all high-priority considerations.
When the Amsterdam Truck Show launched in February 2000, the visitors were pleased to view the European version of the Volvo NH12 for the first time - a high-tech vehicle, fitted for the new millennium.
This truck was propelled by the ultra-modern Volvo D12C electronically controlled, direct-injection diesel engine and could be delivered complete with Volvo Dynafleet 2.0, Volvo's IT tool.
The new Volvo FH series
When the new Volvo FH series was launched in 2012, it was as the predecessor of one of the world’s most successful trucks ever built. For 19 years, Volvo FH had been an icon in the truck industry. Needless to say, expectations were high. At the spectacular launch, the new Volvo FH turned out to be exactly like its forerunner in one way only – being something entirely new. The new truck came packed with innovative features, many of them industry firsts, pushing the envelope for what a truck could be.
Many of them had one focus: the driver. Because at this time, attracting good drivers had become increasingly important and difficult for transport operators all over the world. But this was before the new FH arrived. With one extra cubic metre of cab space, car-like handling, great visibility and several comfortable features such as the all-new climate system with I-ParkCool – this was a workplace for drivers to love.
The new FH also came with several groundbreaking ways to make transports more profitable for the operator. Intelligent fuel-saving offers such as the I-See make a direct impact on the bottom line. So does the bold promise of 100% uptime, previously unthought of in the industry.
But above all, the new Volvo FH series came with another promise. A promise of being ready for the future. Already at the launch, the incredible Euro 6-compliant driveline I-Torque was revealed, and the advanced telematics platform made for exciting future updates.
Once again, Volvo FH had become a game-changer in the transport industry.
Volvo FM MethaneDiesel
Since the 1990s Volvo has been developing trucks that run on alternative fuels. In the 2010s this work is now resulting in trucks that not only create less environmental impact, they also carry out their haulage work with total dependability, good operating economy and virtually the same load-carrying capacity.
The FM MethaneDiesel is a sustainable and economical transport solution that, by using liquefied gas as a fuel, marks a huge stride in the development of the eco-optimised truck. Compared with “regular” gas-powered vehicles (which use an Otto-cycle engine with conventional spark plugs) the FM MethaneDiesel boasts energy efficiency which is 30 to 40 percent higher, contributing to fuel consumption that is about 25% lower than that of a gas vehicle with an Otto-cycle engine. The operating range is unlimited since the FM MethaneDiesel can run on either gas or conventional diesel fuel. Under the engine compartment cover there is a 13-litre engine producing 460 horsepower. This is more than enough for even heavy transport assignments.
From the environmental viewpoint the FM MethaneDiesel is superior to conventional diesel trucks – carbon dioxide emissions are up to 70% lower when running on biogas.
The FM MethaneDiesel (which thus far is only built to order, for selected markets) has been primarily developed for regional distribution operations but it is also suitable for heavy local duties and, thanks to its ability to run on regular diesel fuel, also for long-haul operations.