Dense traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, narrow streets and tight spaces – these are just some of the obstacles truck drivers operating in urban areas must contend with. However, by lowering the cab, the Volvo FE Low Entry Cab (LEC) offers improved visibility, ergonomics and driver comfort.
"On city streets, the driver constantly needs to monitor the truck surroundings and make eye contact with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” says Anders Edenholm, Segment Manager Distribution, Volvo Trucks. “By lowering the driving position and reducing hidden angles, we can significantly improve all-round visibility and bring the driver closer to other road users."
The Low Entry Cab also enables a low instep so that drivers get in and out of the cab quickly and easily. The updated Volvo FE LEC also includes a kneeling function that brings the instep nine cm lower, allowing drivers to step into the cab much like a passenger bus.
"Some drivers, such as those in urban distribution, will climb in and out of the cab up to 50 times a day, which puts a lot of strain on their knees, ankles and back," explains Johan Jarlengrip, Feature Specialist Driver Environment. "A lower instep will not only relieve this strain, but, since this is a common reason for people to leave the profession, it will help attract and retain good drivers."
The first Volvo FE LEC was released in 2009, as a customisation for refuse collection trucks in London. However, it proved so popular, it quickly became a standard offer. The new updated version includes added features, which enhance its benefits even further.
They include an extra window on the passenger side and doors that can open 90 degrees. It retains its centric dashboard design that improves driver ergonomics by placing frequently used controls within easy reach. It is also available with a range of different options and customisations to further improve safety, uptime, productivity and environmental impact.
The cab interior is ergonomically designed, with all frequently used controls within easy reach. The low instep, 90-degree door opening and kneeling function will greatly reduce the strain on drivers’ knees, back and arms, as it allows them to simply step in and out of the cab rather than climbing.
The Volvo FE LEC can accommodate up to four people and the low instep will save the driver time. With a 350 hp engine, the Volvo FE LEC can offer flexibility, agility and short pick-up cycles. It is also available with the I-Shift specially adapted for distribution or construction.
The lower driving position brings the drivers closer to their immediate surroundings, enabling better all-round and close-up visibility. Extra windows in the passenger door and behind the B-post also improve the direct view of otherwise hidden angles.
The Volvo FE LEC CNG is powered by compressed natural gas and can reduce carbon emissions by up to 70 per cent if powered by biogas. Volvo also offers alternative drivelines for driving in areas where there is a limit on the use of diesel powered vehicles.
In addition to improved visibility, the Volvo FE LEC is also equipped with active safety features such as collision warning with emergency brake. This could further reduce the risk of accidents with vulnerable road users or other vehicles. The cab also includes extra reinforcements to improve driver protection, and is fitted with FUP (front underrun protection) as standard.
The Volvo FE LEC is available with a range of telematics and connected services, which can assist with truck monitoring, tracking, preventive maintenance and servicing. The improved visibility will also reduce the likelihood of collisions in tight spaces.