Volvo Trucks’ I-Shift transmission technology is still a breakthrough innovation after 20 years

Volvo Trucks’ I-Shift intelligent automated manual transmission (AMT) innovation continues to be an important milestone in the industry, thanks to its positive impact on fuel consumption, vehicle performance, safety and driver comfort. By the end of 2020, more than one million Volvo Trucks around the world have been sold with I-Shift. And as we celebrate 20 years since its launch, this breakthrough powertrain technology is still being developed for future gains.
I-Shift is the result of many years of hard work by skilled engineers and feedback from customers.
I-Shift is the result of many years of hard work by skilled engineers and feedback from customers.

When I-Shift was first launched in 2001, Volvo Trucks confirmed its strong belief in a clutch-based transmission system as the most efficient design for automatic gear-changing. Since then, more than one million trucks have been sold globally with I-Shift technology. Today, all Volvo FH, FH16, FM and FMX trucks are fitted with I-Shift as standard. Being an automated system, I-Shift contributes to lower fuel consumption – and thereby reduced environmental impact – as well as improved safety and driveability benefits regarding reduced noise, vibrations and physical strain on the driver.

“I-Shift was and still is a major game-changer. Today we are selling the I-shift all over the world. In North America, we have increased from single-digit numbers in 2007 to now more than 90% of all Volvo trucks there being equipped with the I-shift. This impressive development clearly reflects both its increased efficiency and its driver appeal,” says Pär Bergstrand, Heavy Duty Transmission manager at Volvo Trucks.

Developed by Volvo, I-Shift is fully synchronised with the rest of the truck since the transmission uses information available from both the engine and the vehicle to work together in the most optimum way for different usages and truck combinations.

“This synchronisation is what sets I-Shift apart and makes it so versatile. I-Shift is the positive result of many years of hard work by our skilled engineers, the feedback from customers in the field tests for the development process, and Volvo Trucks’ access to technological advances across the entire Volvo Group,” explains Pär Bergstrand.

I-Shift’s success lies in its ability to work with the entire powertrain, since this transmission system is tailored to the engine and vehicle components already from the development phase. With continuous improvements over the years, I-Shift has been able to meet the demands of a wide range of transport applications, not only for high performance and efficiency but also for optimum driveability and comfort.

Over the years, Volvo Trucks has continued to pioneer numerous new intelligent functions that both drivers and hauliers have come to appreciate. Here are some examples of them.

I-Shift with Dual Clutch

When in 2014 Volvo Trucks unveiled the I-Shift with Dual Clutch it was a heavy-duty dual clutch, inspired by the gearboxes used in racing cars, that offered an instant and immediate feeling of seamless delivery of power during gear changes.

I-Shift with Crawler gears

Another significant step came in 2016, addressing heavy duty assignments that require extra torque and startability. I-Shift with Crawler gears allows a truck transporting a gross combination weight up to 325 tonnes to start from standstill on a flat road. The gear ratio enables the truck to crawl at speeds as low as 0.5 km/hr, which is beneficial when performing precision manoeuvres, for example on construction sites, when paving roads or when hauling timber.

I-See uses Cloud-based map data

I-See is a separate system that can be added to I-Shift, engineered to analyse route topography and use that knowledge to keep the truck in the most fuel-efficient gear. Updated in 2017, I-See supports the truck in maintaining a consistent average speed by analysing cloud-based map data about topography of the road ahead, telling I-Shift when it’s the optimum time to change gear in order to save energy, and thus fuel.

I-Shift with Change Direction function

The launch of Volvo Trucks’ new heavy-duty range in 2020 brought the introduction of another innovative function: I-Shift with Change Direction. This new function enables the truck to change direction without the driver needing to use the brake pedal, a feature particularly useful for construction, forestry and mining operations where it is more productive to perform repetitive manoeuvres back and forth at lower speed.

The latest generation of Volvo trucks also further reduces fuel consumption. For example, the new Volvo FH with I-Save technology – Volvo Trucks’ most fuel-efficient long-haul truck to date – cuts fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. *

And, looking ahead, the innovative developments certainly aren’t stopping here.

“I-Shift will continue to be improved for diesel trucks and it will also play an important role in our electromobility journey. As an advanced automation technology, I-Shift offers unique abilities to contribute to Volvo’s fully autonomous transport solutions of the future,” concludes Pär Bergstrand.

*The difference in fuel consumption is computed by comparing the costs of diesel and AdBlue for I-Save: the new generation of Volvo FH with D13TC Euro 6 step D including the long haul fuel package, with the classic Volvo FH with D13 eSCR Euro 6 step D without the long haul fuel package. The actual fuel economy varies according to many factors, such as the driver’s level of experience, use of cruise control, the vehicle specifications, vehicle load, actual topography and weather conditions.


LINK to high resolution images.

For further information, please contact:

Jan Strandhede
Media Relations Director, Volvo Trucks
Tel: +46 31 3233715

Volvo Trucks supplies complete transport solutions for discerning professional customers with its full range of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Customer support is provided via a global network of dealers with 2,300 service points in about 130 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 12 countries across the globe. In 2022 approximately 145,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. Volvo Trucks’ work is based on the core values of quality, safety and environmental care.