Following the launch of the Volvo FH at the IAA Show at Hanover, Germany, last September, Volvo Trucks has launched a revised FM range at the U.K. Commercial Vehicle Show, ahead of the start of production in September 2013. In structural terms, the FM is a development of the existing FM cab aimed at local, regional, and national distribution operators, with the FH aimed at the long-haul and heavy-duty sectors.
But there is more to the latest FM than revisions to the cab. The FM will be the first Volvo truck to be equipped with the company’s Dynamic Steering system, while other changes include revised suspension, new engine mountings, the introduction of the I-See system, new axle configurations, greater chassis flexibility, and reduced weight. Drivers and operators can also use the new mobile phone app “My Truck” to control a number of functions remotely.
The Volvo Dynamic Steering system adds an electronically controlled electric motor to the steering gear, which retains hydraulic power assistance. The system is designed to give additional assistance at low speeds, reducing strain on shoulder and arm muscles. The system provides self-centering action in reversing maneuvers. Conventional truck power-steering systems require constant steering correction over heavily cambered roads and when driving in cross winds. The Dynamic Steering system automatically compensates for these conditions, allowing the driver to steer straight ahead. The system also reduces the steering correction needed when driving over surface cracks and potholes.
Some 8x2 FM models will also benefit from three steered axles. This can either be with a steered front axle and two steered rear axles on vehicles with Volvo’s 8x2 Tridem configuration or two steered front axles and a third rear steering axle on models with two front axles.
As before, the FM will be available with five different cab options from day cab to sleeper and high roof Globetrotter and Globetrotter LXL variants.
Inside, the FM is equipped with a new instrument panel. “The instrument cluster is carried over from the FH, but the dashboard is different,” Peter Lindgren, Product Manager – Cab for Volvo Trucks, told SAE Magazines.
The steering wheel has remote controls for the cruise control, phone, Dynafleet fleet management system, and satellite navigation system. Using the “My Truck” mobile phone app, it will be possible to control and monitor some functions via a smartphone. Remote functions will include activating the cab heater, or programming the timer, accessing information including fuel and AdBlue (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) additive, engine oil, coolant and washer fluid levels, battery condition, and some lighting functions. Drivers will also be able to check if the doors are locked, and if the vehicle alarm is activated, “My Truck” will give an alert.
“I-See” is available with the I-Shift automated gearbox and also uses GPS data to record the topography of roads to deliver optimum fuel consumption. The data is recorded and recalled when that road is driven again using the I-Cruise intelligent cruise control system. It will then use the data to drive the road in the most fuel-efficient way.