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Volvo, with a healthy 12 percent share of the heavy haul market, looks to up the ante with a new addition to the Volvo I-Shift transmission line. Designed for a truck that requires superior maneuverability at very low speeds, such as concrete haulers, this new transmission increases the number of internal cogs to produce generous amounts of torque at speeds as low as .5 Mph. Thus allowing trucks to pull from start with a gross cargo weight up to 325 tons.

According to Volvo, the purpose behind the introduction of the I-Shift transmission with crawler gears is to enable the driver to conduct precision movements in both confined spaces and on steep grades that would cause difficulty in a normally equipped truck. Complementing the increased mechanical capabilities, the interoperability of the firmware/software has been upgraded to allow for even more control and monitoring. This new software upgrade also adds a learning element to the vehicle as the software can effectively "learn" the driving conditions and can compensate accordingly.

Available in both direct drive and overdrive, the new I-Shift with crawler gears equipped is over 4 inches longer than the traditional I-Shift. This lengthening allows for gear ratios in direct drive of 19:1 and with overdrive, a gear ratio of 17:1. Additionally, reverse gears with a higher ratio also available but are not equipped as standard with the new transmission. Of course, the increased ratios and size do not have an adverse effect on reliability as many of the materials have been upgraded with higher strength materials to compensate for the added pressure.

The new I-Shift with crawler gears will be available for both 13 liter and 16 liter engines and thus are available across most of Volvo's heavy truck lines. Volvo sees the introduction of the I-Shift with crawler gears as a way to increase productivity of the driver while maintaining the fuel economy and capabilities that Volvo is known for.