Wade Long has been driving the development of a 70-inch sleeper since Volvo decided to launch a new product line. “One thing our dealers always ask for is a 70-inch sleeper,” says, Long, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks. “Drivers don’t like to be touching the walls when they’re sleeping.” He pauses before proudly adding, “Well, we’re delivering a 70-inch sleeper.”
Actually, Long and Volvo Trucks are delivering a whole line of sleepers — the new Volvo VNLs. One of them is, indeed, a 70-incher, radically upgrading driver comfort. Nowhere, says Long, is that more obvious than in the completely reimagined living environment.
These are innovations you won't see on any other truck
A long list of better ideas “Cabinets opening toward the back to make more space, a reclining bunk for watching TV or reading, a table that allows you to work ergonomically, clear lines of sight to the TV from the upper bunk,” Long says, are part of a long list of advancements.
“Volvo was the first company to bring automotive comfort level to the trucking industry. Now we’re taking it to a completely new level. These are the things drivers will be talking about on the radio.”
Calmer at the core The core idea behind the new Volvo VNL interior was to create an even calmer, more restful space, which means more productivity and safer drivers. First, designers planned a broader, more stable sleeping area. Then they refit the cab to create more — and more intelligent — storage space.
“By creating a resting environment that is less congested, we’re helping the driver to relax,” Long says, “which is vitally important day after day on the road.”
Keeping Drivers Volvo understands that drivers who are more content with their work space are more likely to stay on the job, too. “Drivers talk,” Long says. “They know when fleets cheapen down the truck. If a fleet promotes they’re buying premium mattress for the drivers, they’ll talk about that. They know which fleets are desirable to drive for.”
Premium mattresses were just one component Brian Balicki’s interior design team considered in an exhaustive search to create more comfort and ease. Balicki, chief interior designer on the project, attended RV and boat shows for inspiration. Then he went on the road, driving trucks, to see what worked and what didn’t in the real world. “We tried to go through the same steps drivers will so we could catch the little things,” Balicki says “For instance, instead of making drivers snap shades on every window, we wanted to create a premium experience with integrated shades. Now it takes seconds to close all the shades.”
We're taking comfort to a completely new level
New Angle on Comfort The new reclining bunk, the only one of its kind, lets drivers transition comfortably between work and rest. Its adjustable positions add an easychair feel to the cab, making a more relaxing place to check in with the office, keep up with paperwork, watch a movie or read before easing into sleep.
Throughout the interior, premium craftsmanship and innovative details like softer LED lighting, electrical outlets for the top bunk, easily reachable controls, smart storage arrays, larger refrigerator, removable floor mats—every detail was chosen to create a warm, clean, calming environment. “We know if drivers don’t have a decent night’s rest, that affects their productivity for the next day or even the entire week,” Balicki says, “so it’s important they have a rejuvenating experience. A driver who is better rested is likely to be more alert, safer, more productive and in a better mood.”