Despite the fact that Volvo was a fairly progressive manufacturer, Volvo was one of the later truck producers to introduce diesel trucks. That was not by mere chance, but due to the fact that Gustaf Larson, one of the co-founders of Volvo, was a fellow engineering student of Jonas Hesselman, the inventor of the Hesselman engine.
Unfortunately, this meant that Volvo was one of the last manufacturers to offer diesel engines to customers, despite the fact that, by this time the genuine diesel engine was already far superior to the Hesselman engine.
The first Volvo diesel engine...
The original plan was to introduce the first diesel engine in 1940, but World War II delayed the introduction of the Volvo diesel truck. The first Volvo diesel engine was called 'VDA' ('Volvo Diesel engine type A') and was of the pre-combustion type like most of the diesel engines of that era. Originally, the VDA was planned to be of the more efficient direction-injection type.
At tests performed before the introduction of the direction-injection type VDA, it was found, however, that it was very difficult to start this version of the VDA in cold weather. So, in order to guarantee perfect reliability and long service life, a new version of the pre-combustion type was introduced in 1946. This was presented in the autumn of 1946 and very soon became the most popular truck in Sweden.