The Volvo VNR Electric's Adaptive Cruise Control May Cause Sudden Braking, Recall Issued

Next-Generation Volvo VNR Electric 6 photos
Photo: Volvo / edited
Next-Generation Volvo VNR ElectricNext-Generation Volvo VNR ElectricNext-Generation Volvo VNR ElectricNext-Generation Volvo VNR ElectricNext-Generation Volvo VNR Electric
Introduced in 1996, the VN was redesigned in 2017 for the 2018 model year. Not long after, Volvo introduced a zero-emission version of the Class 8 tractor. The VNR Electric in question has been recalled in the US to the tune of 236 trucks fitted with adaptive cruise control.
The system is programmed to brake automatically in order to maintain distance between the VNR Electric and the vehicle ahead of it. Volvo discovered that under light load conditions, the regenerative braking system could be too aggressive. Not only do the brakes lock in this particular scenario, but a skidding rear axle is nothing to scoff at given the sheer weight of the truck.

Volvo Trucks North America identified an insufficient integration condition between the adaptive cruise control and regenerative braking systems. Otherwise put, the front radar had not been integrated properly.

The Swedish manufacturer's North American division started investigating this concern in March 2023. Not even a month later, the safety boffins agreed that a safety risk exists. Volvo isn't aware of any warranty claims, crashes, injuries, or deaths associated with this issue.

Produced between April 2019 and October 2022 for the 2020 and 2023 model years, the subject VNR Electric tractors will have their radar antenna bracket and radar antenna removed by authorized dealers. Volvo also instructed its network of retailers to secure the wiring associated with the antenna to prevent the ability to hook up a different antenna. What's more, the braking system's electronic brain will be reprogrammed to turn the adaptive cruise control off. Owners can expect to be notified by first-class mail no later than June 2, 2023.

The report attached below doesn't mention whether this is a stopgap measure or the final remedy. In case of the former, that would be a big downer for VNR Electric owners because keeping one's right foot on the throttle for hours on end is pretty tiresome. Vehicles that are currently in Volvo's control are under a stop-sale order, pending correction. But once again, the report doesn't say whether those tractors will be shipped sans ACC.

Available in straight truck and tractor configurations with either 4x2 or 6x4 layouts, the VNR Electric is listed by the configurator with a choice of four batteries or six batteries totaling 375 or 565 kilowatt hours. The charging system is designed for up to 250 kilowatts on direct current. In other words, the lesser battery reaches 80 percent state of charge in just around 60 minutes.

Operating range… uhm… ranges between 190 and 275 miles (306 and 443 kilometers), whereas the gross vehicle weight rating varies between 33,000 and 82,000 pounds (14,969 to 37,195 kilograms). The Class 8 hauler is sold together with a Gold Contract, referring to an electric vehicle-specific service contract designed to provide additional peace of mind with goodies like included maintenance, towing, and unplanned repairs.
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 Download: Volvo VNR Electric ACC recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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