When Volvo Trucks launched the world’s strongest series-manufactured truck, the Volvo FH16 700, Tore Aase of Norway quickly placed an order and became the first customer in the world to take delivery of the brand-new model. He has now driven the truck in regular operations for about six months.
"I’m delighted with it. It’s possible to maintain a steady, high speed with a full load even on steep gradients," says Tore Aase, who hauls heavy loads from Stavanger on the demanding, hilly Norwegian west coast.
From Stavanger, which serves as the base for the Norwegian offshore industry, drills, pipes and other materials are distributed to the various oil-fields. It’s an industry that the veteran haulage operator has been serving for almost 30 years now. In order to shorten transport times, much of the cargo is hauled on the coastal roads before being shipped out to the oil rigs.
"The reason why we chose the FH16 700 is that we haul loads of up to 50 tonnes. The roads are often narrow and there may be kilometre-long gradients of between 6 and 10 percent, so you can never really have too much power," says Tore Aase, owner of haulage company Spesial og Tungtransport AS, located in Förde 170 kilometres north of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast.
Despite the truck’s 700 horsepower and torque of 3,150 Nm at 2,650 r/min, this has not had a negative impact on fuel consumption. Quite the contrary.
"I save about 5 litres per 100 kilometres compared with my previous truck," reveals Tore Aase.
What is more, Volvo’s product development engineers have succeeded in cutting nitrogen oxide emissions by 40 percent, thus meeting the Euro 5 emissions requirements.
Tore contributed his own ideas to the design and construction of the trailer. One example is the specially designed storage compartments in the trailer and the light unit set into the wind deflector panel on the trailer’s roof.
However, Tore’s smartest idea is probably the light unit set into the wind deflector panels on the front wings.
"When we are hauling long and wide cargoes, we sometimes find that cars want to cut in between the truck and its escort. It can be difficult to see our regular hazard warning lights. The light units integrated into the wind deflectors are clearly visible through the car’s side window. The driver is thus alerted and understands that it is not a good idea to force his way in," explains Tore.
One major – and highly appreciated – surprise with the new truck is the cornering lights that illuminate the edge of the road when turning.
"When you slow down and turn, the powerful lights help a lot.
I get far better visibility and considerably increased safety," says Tore Aase.
Tore Aase spends almost 200 days a year in his truck cab so it is important that he feels at home behind the wheel. And his new truck has not disappointed him.
"It’s like driving a car. It steers very precisely and you can control it with just two fingers on the wheel. And as for the I-Shift transmission – that’s simply fantastic. I can’t change gear as smoothly or quickly with a manual gearbox. Absolutely amazing," says Tore.
"When I return from a long trip, I don’t need to lie down on the sofa to relax. I scarcely feel I’ve been driving a truck for an entire day."