Letters: New Volvo Drivetrain, HOS Rules

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Oct. 31 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

New Volvo Drivetrain

I’m writing in response to the Oct. 3 article about the “new” Volvo drivetrain package: “Volvo Offers New Powertrain Package for VN Trucks” (p. 20).

It may be new to Volvo, but the technology has been around for many years. Eons ago, Mack set the standard for low-rpm, high-torque- rise engines.

Nearly 30 years ago they developed an engine that had peak torque at 1,000 rpm (EM6-275L), while everyone else had their peak torque around the midteens. I guess it is no surprise that Volvo/Mack is offering a “new” low-rpm engine.

Don DaVanzo

Territory Manager for Florida Heavy Duty Resources

Winter Garden, Fla.

Editor’s Note: We invited Volvo to respond to the letter above. The company’s reply follows:

Without question, Mack has a long history of powertrain innovation, including the engines the writer references — which were mechanical and designed to cruise at about 1,600 rpm.

Thanks to the advanced electronically controlled engine technology in the Volvo Group today and our very intelligent automated manual transmissions, we’ve taken the low-speed engine approach to a new level. With the XE13, at 65 mph, our engines cruise at 1,150 rpm, which makes a dramatic difference in fuel efficiency.

Ed Saxman

Drivetrain Product Manager

Volvo Trucks

Greensboro, N.C.

HOS Rules

Everyone but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can see the negative implications of the proposed hours-of-service rule changes (“U.S. Likely to Miss Deadline on HOS Rule, Officials Say,” 10-24, p. 1).

Truckers and trucking companies have been complaining about the negative effect the proposed HOS rule changes will have on the industry, and now even the rail companies have noted this.

In the September 2011 issue of Railway Age, David Starling, president and CEO of Kansas City Southern, pointed out the following: “The economics of longhaul trucking have grown increasingly challenging due to the combination of escalating fuel prices, driver shortages, stringent hours-of-service and safety requirements, and a deteriorating national highway and bridge infrastructure.” Starling calls this a perfect storm.

We all are drowning in this perfect storm.

Some challenges will take years to correct, but some can be corrected with the stroke of a pen.

I deal with containers and chassis. The roadside inspections and Compliance, Safety, Accountability program Safety Measurement System ratings are killing my safety record, driving insurance costs up and scaring away customers.

Even though trucking companies are being charged with equipment problems, the steamship lines are divesting themselves of chassis to shift responsibility for maintenance. Everyone is bailing on responsibility except the trucking companies. We are carrying the whole weight and responsibility.

Truck-involved accidents are on the decline. Let’s see where the present regulations lead us before we complicate them.

Jim Ross


Safety Consultant

Little Silver, N.J.