In Europe, Volvo has released a new model to its range. The Volvo FE LEC is a modified version of the FE model, released in Australia at the recent ITTES in Melbourne. The LEC stands for low entry cab and sees the cabin redesigned forward in front of the steer axle and lowered closer to the ground for easier ingress and egress for the driver.
The new model design uses all of the components of the current FE but rearranges them to suit applications like garbage and other tasks where the driver gets in and out of the cab many times a day. The floor of the low entry cab is only 530 mm off the ground and this can be lowered a further 90 mm by using the ‘kneeling’ function of the front suspension.
Seeing these new Volvo FE LEC trucks on Australian roads any time soon is extremely unlikely. Historically, the Volvo design and layout has been found to be too heavy for the requirements of the Australian garbage industry and the FE models are assembled in Europe, giving little chance for the kind of customisation our very particular garbage industry specifies.
The garbage truck market has become more interesting in recent years with the entry of other new brands into the market. The long-time dominance of the Iveco Acco has been challenged by the introduction of the Dennis Eagle brand and the Mercedes Benz Econic, both introduced from Europe and adapted, in different ways to suit Australia. Volvo does not look set to join the fight in this market segment.
Volvo have revealed they will be unveiling the new FM, FMX and FE models for the first time in Australia at the upcoming International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show at the Melbourne Showground, opening on April 3. The new models were released in Europe in 2013 and will be going on sale here when they go on display in Melbourne.
These new models follow the radical redesign of the Volvo FH which was unveiled in Brisbane last May. The release of the new models sees the Swedish truck maker completely renewing its total offering to the Australian truck market in a period of less than 18 months.
The new FM and it’s beefed up construction industry sister model, the FMX, will all be built at the Volvo/Mack assembly plant in Wacol, Queensland. The new FE models will be imported fully built up from the group’s assembly facilities in Europe.
The new models will include many of the features included in the all-new FH trucks released last year. The new cabin interiors of all the new models with all new instrumentation has been carried over from the FH, and other features, such as the new dynamic steering system and improved I-shift AMT will be coming online.
There are also a number of hi-tech inclusions included in the new releases. A wireless remote control the truck suspension and a number of other functions is fitted to the new models. Other features such as the I-See program, which remembers the topography of any route and then makes ear changing decisions based on its experience of the route in the past, will be on offer to buyers of the new trucks and using cloud-based data.
Here in Australia we complain about the conditions we have to put up with on the roads. We carry on about irresponsible drivers making our life tougher and putting us in danger. We also demand a large bunk in a spacious sleeper cabin if we spend nights out.
Compare our conditions to the lot of this tipper driver in Nigeria, apart from terrible roads, crazy drivers and difficult working conditions, he is always in danger of being hijacked by gunmen. He probably regards himself as lucky, at least he’s got a job and a good modern truck to drive. However, the road and work conditions in Nigeria are, literally, third world and our hero in the video, Matthew, deserves our respect.
Continuing on with the theme of the epic split video with Jean Claude Van Damme. The latest video to hit YouTube is a ‘Making of Epic Split’ documentary. Some of the mistakes and supposed out-takes are included in this short video.
The liberal use of Volvo branding may mean this video has a short shelf life online.