The FM and FMX are two of the heavy-duty truck families Volvo has recently redesigned. Because good help has become hard to find—an estimated 20% of European driver jobs are currently unfilled, according to Volvo—the manufacturer has focused on the driver’s experience in the upgraded trucks, as well as safety and productivity.
“We are really proud of this big forward-looking investment,” said Volvo Trucks President Roger Alm. “Our aim is to be our customers’ best business partner by making them even more competitive and helping them to attract the best drivers in an increasingly tough market.”
The most obvious upgrades to the FM and FMX are their new exteriors, but the real action is in their brand-new cabs. Bigger windows, new mirrors, a lowered door line, and an optional passenger-corner camera give drivers more visibility and awareness of their surroundings. Volvo also added an extra cubic metre (35.3 cubic feet) of space in the cab via raised A-pillars, reasoning that drivers spend a great deal of time working and sleeping there according to the requirements of their jobs. Better thermal and sound insulation improves the comfort level inside the cabin, as does a new sensor-regulated climate control with a carbon air filter.
In the dash area, the new FM and FMX now share several of the instrument display functions found in larger trucks from Volvo. The driver can control the fully digital instrument panel by voice commands or by using the 305- and 227-millimetre (12- and 9-inch) displays close at hand. Buttons on the steering wheel offer yet another way to control many functions; the wheel also comes with a new neck tilt function for ergonomic adjustment. Interior storage space has been improved under a higher bottom bunk in the sleeper cab and with a new, illuminated, 40-litre (10.6-gallon) rear storage compartment in the day cab.
As for safety features, the new Volvo FM and FMX have the latest standard and optional technologies. Included with the trucks are the Electronically controlled Brake System (EBS), which underpins the Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control features; a road sign recognition system that displays the signs on the instrument panel; descent control for maintaining steady downhill speeds; and an enhanced version of Volvo’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC; optional on the FMX). Options include Volvo Dynamic Steering, Lane Keeping Assist, and Stability Assist.
The New FM Series
Besides diesel engine options, the Volvo FM is available with a Euro 6-compliant liquid natural gas (LNG) engine with similar efficiency and performance. It reduces CO2 emissions by up to 20% compared to diesel, the company says, or by up to 100% when fueled by biogas. The FM uses Volvo’s I-Shift transmission.
Volvo’s New FMX
The heavy-duty FMX’s claim to fame is an ability to accommodate a gross combination weight (GCW) of up to 150 tonnes (165 US tons). Its updated front air suspension can carry up to 10 tonnes (11 tons) on a single front axle and 20 tonnes (22 tons) on a double. The FMX also features a 38-tonne (41.9-ton) bogie axle. An optional steel roof hatch gives the driver an emergency exit for hazardous jobs such as mining. The FMX can be specced with either the I-Shift or an I-Shift with crawler gears according to the application.
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“Drivers who handle their truck safely and efficiently are an invaluable asset to any transport company,” said Alm. “Our new trucks will help drivers work even more safely and productively and give our customers stronger arguments when competing to attract the best drivers.”