Volvo Trucks I-Shift Celebrates 10th Year of Existence

Back in 2001, when Volvo Trucks first introduced the I-Shift system, few people could have imagined that an idea based on systems in the automotive industry would catch on and become a sales success. However, the device is now ten years old and over 80 percent of Volvo’s popular FH trucks are fitted with it.

This means that automatic gear changes are almost standard on the FH, but ten years ago, things look much different. There were already a number of so-called AMTs (Automated Mechanical Transmissions) on the market, but they were all based on manual gearboxes adapted to permit automatic changes. They often broke down, so customers naturally thought that manuals were the only true option.

However, Volvo’s tailor-made solution soon changed all this, and the system was envisioned from the get-go to be used on longer runs. After only a year from the launch, the system was already a relative success, with 14 of all truck sold being fitted with it.

Sven-Erik Tibb was the main project manager throughout the development of I-Shift. “We created a totally new unsynchronised basic transmission and an integral control unit with all the electronics, sensors and so on. We then added software that was fully tailored for long-distance traffic. This gave us total control of the engine and gear-changing,” he recalls.

In 2001, I-Shift was an automated transmission for transport in Europe, with gross combination weights of up to 44 tons. Nowadays, I-Shift now has applications for most types of transport and engines with high torque. This means that it also functions in vehicles designed for really heavy-duty, gruelling transport assignments, even in forest conditions and gravel pits.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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