Having pulled 750 tonnes (826 tons) from standstill with its new i-Shift gearbox, Volvo has upped the stakes to demonstrate just what dual-clutch technology can offer the heavy vehicle world. The latest stunt to emerge from the Swedish showoffs involves a paraglider, a mountain pass and a truck, and aims to demonstrate how smooth and efficient the dual-clutch gearbox really is.
The general idea behind the paraglider stunt is simple: The truck needs to maintain a steady speed uphill, otherwise the glider will drop from the sky and become a piece of roadkill bouncing behind a Volvo. Simple equation, high stakes.
Rather than requiring a long break between gears, the dual-clutch 'box allows for almost instant gearshifts, which means less speed lost between gears. In performance cars like the Porsche GT3 RS and Ferrari 488 GTB, both of which are exclusively available with a self-shifting dual clutch gearbox, that means faster acceleration times and better fuel economy. In trucks, it allows for better fuel economy, because the 'box can shift more frequently to keep the engine in its ideal power band with no real loss in forward momentum.
As well as being useful when there's a paraglider attached to the back of your trailer, this also makes life easier for drivers hauling heavy loads across steep, slippery or rough terrain. From a maintenance perspective, smoother gear changes and less time spent outside of the engine's power band also reduces wear on components, cutting costs for fleet operators.
"Driving on high gears and securing seamless gear shifting is an important factor for fuel efficiency," says Staffan Wendeberg, Product Manager of FH Trucks and Volvo Long Haul. "The I-Shift Dual Clutch enables smooth driving whilst staying in high gears and low revs."
So, did the stunt work, or does Volvo have a high-profile death on its hands? You can probably guess the answer, but check out the video of Guillaume Galvani taking flight below for definitive proof.
Source: Volvo Trucks
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