The Truck Writers of North America have recognized the Volvo XE13 powertrain package as the top technical achievement for 2011. The award presentation took place this week at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition.
The Technical Achievement Award winner was selected by committee members Paul Abelson (Land Line and Road King magazines), John Baxter (Randall-Reilly Publishing), Tom Berg (Heavy Duty Trucking and Construction Equipment magazines), Peter Carter (Today’s Trucking), Paul Hartley (AddMedia), James Menzies (Truck News and Truck West), and Jim Park (Heavy Duty Trucking).
To be eligible for the Technical Achievement Award, a product or service has to clearly exhibit technical innovation, have a wide applicability in the trucking industry, offer significant benefits, and be widely available. While complete vehicles are not eligible, components and systems are.
The review process begins with candidates nominated by the press members of TWNA. Using a point system based on each committee member’s ranking of the candidates, the highest-scoring products are selected as finalists.
The six finalists for 2011 are the Bendix EverSure spring brake; the Fontaine/Volvo integrated fifth wheel; Goodyear’s G392 SSD/SST DuraSeal wide-base tires; RigDig’s Truck History Reports; Spectra’s Hub Alert; and the Volvo XE13 powertrain package.
Ranking at the top among the finalists, the Volvo XE13 powertrain package earned the top honor of the 2011 TWNA Technical Achievement Award. The XE13 (exceptional efficiency) package introduces the concept of “downspeeding,” by combining a set of specifications – including Volvo’s I-Shift automated manual transmission – that collectively allow the engine to run about 200 rpm slower than the average truck sold today. That translates to a fuel savings of about 3 percent compared to a similarly specified truck with an overdrive transmission.
“Gearing the truck with a different rear axle ratio for a super low rpm level road cruise, then setting up an automated transmission to swiftly downshift as soon as the driver needs to accelerate or climb a hill, is quite a development,” said TWNA Technical Achievement Award Committee member John Baxter. “It represents a sea change in thinking as far as how the drivetrain is to be put together and could also drive a serious shift to automated transmissions in the future. It will certainly help to squeeze more energy out of each gallon of fuel.”
“Volvo’s XE13 powertrain package brings the concept of running slow to a new level,” added committee chair, James Menzies. “Several members of the committee have had the chance to drive a Volvo VN equipped with the new powertrain package, and we were all very impressed with how it performed on the road.”
The very first Technical Achievement Award was presented in 1991 to Grote Industries for its red LED marker light. Since receiving the inaugural award, Grote has sponsored the annual trophy. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Technical Achievement Award.
Founded in 1988, TWNA is a professional organization whose membership is composed of writers, editors, public relations specialists, marketing personnel and others involved in the business of creating or producing information related to the world of trucking.