I-Shift turns 20!

I-Shift turns 20!

The I-Shift intelligent automated manual transmission (AMT) from Volvo Trucks is turning 20! This innovation continues to be an important benchmark in the industry, thanks to its positive impact on fuel consumption, vehicle performance, safety and driver comfort.

When I-Shift was first launched globally in 2001, Volvo Trucks confirmed its belief in a clutch-based transmission system as the most efficient design for automatic gear-changing.  Since then, more than one million trucks have been sold globally with I-Shift technology.

I-Shift was first introduced to the South African market in 2007, with the launch of the FH, FM and FMX version 3 ranges.

Today, all Volvo FH, FH16, FM and FMX trucks are fitted with I-Shift as standard. Being an automated system, I-Shift contributes to lower fuel consumption and thus reduced environmental impact.  In addition, it leads to improved safety and driveability benefits regarding reduced noise, vibrations and physical strain on the driver.

“I-Shift was and still is a major game-changer. Today we are selling the I-shift all over the world. This impressive development clearly reflects both its increased efficiency and its driver appeal,” said Pär Bergstrand, heavy-duty transmission manager at Volvo Trucks.

Developed by Volvo, I-Shift is fully synchronised with the rest of the truck since the transmission uses information available from both the engine and the vehicle to work together in the most optimum way for different applications and truck combinations.

“This synchronisation is what sets I-Shift apart and makes it so versatile. I-Shift is the combined result of many years of hard work by our skilled engineers, the feedback from customers and Volvo Trucks’ access to technological advances across the entire Volvo Group,” explains Bergstrand.

I-Shift’s success lies in its ability to work with the entire powertrain, since this transmission system is tailored to the engine and vehicle components from the development phase. With continuous improvements over the years, I-Shift has been able to meet the demands of a wide range of transport applications, not only for high performance and efficiency but also for optimum driveability and comfort.

And, looking ahead, the innovation certainly isn’t stopping there.

“I-Shift will continue to be improved for diesel trucks and it will also play an important role in our electromobility journey. As an advanced automation technology, I-Shift offers unique abilities to contribute to Volvo’s fully autonomous transport solutions of the future,” says Bergstrand.

Over the years, Volvo Trucks has continued to pioneer numerous new intelligent functions that both drivers and hauliers have come to appreciate. Here are some examples:

I-Shift with Dual Clutch

When Volvo Trucks unveiled the I-Shift with Dual Clutch in 2014, it was a heavy-duty dual clutch, inspired by the gearboxes used in racing cars, offering an instant feeling of seamless delivery of power during gear changes.

I-Shift with Crawler gears

Another significant step came in 2016, addressing extra heavy assignments that require extra torque and startability. I-Shift with Crawler gears allows a truck transporting a gross combination weight up to 325 tonnes to start from standstill on a flat road. The gear ratio enables the truck to crawl at speeds as low as 0,5 km/h, which is useful when performing precision manoeuvres, for example, on construction sites, when paving roads or when hauling timber.

I-See uses Cloud-based map data

I-See is a separate system that can be added to I-Shift, engineered to analyse route topography and use that knowledge to keep the truck in the most fuel-efficient gear. Updated in 2017, I-See supports the truck in maintaining a consistent average speed by analysing cloud-based map data about the topography of the road ahead, telling I-Shift when it’s the optimum time to change gear in order to save energy (and thus fuel). Unfortunately, this feature is not currently available on the Euro 3 variants offered in the South African market. It is a priority for Volvo Trucks SA to introduce it in the future.

I-Shift with Change Direction function

The launch of Volvo Trucks’ new heavy-duty range in 2020 brought another innovation: I-Shift with Change Direction. This new function enables the truck to change direction without the driver needing to use the brake pedal, a feature particularly useful for construction, forestry and mining operations, where it is more productive to perform repetitive manoeuvres back and forth at lower speed.

Published by

Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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