1) Volvo to Offer Expanded Air Suspensions
The new 8×4 Tridem features a factory-fitted, three-axle bogie, along with an air-steered rear axle. With three axles and a short rear overhang, customer loads can be distributed with greater efficiency. Operationally, the result is greater stability and road grip in off-road and extreme-road conditions. Further, the triple-axle layout, in combination with a shorter wheelbase, translates into greater maneuverability with a shorter turning radius. The new tag system can also be raised to reduce friction with road surfaces, thus reducing tire wear and fuel consumption.
Volvos Tridem 8×4 will handle payloads up to 33.5 tons, along with a GVW of up to 42.5 tons. The company also plans to extend its availability and make it optional on the 20.5-, 23- and 26-ton platforms.
2) Thermo King TriPac Auxiliary Power Units (APU) Now Available
Freightliner Trucks has announced the availability of Thermo King TriPac APUs as an option with Detroit Diesel-powered Freightliner Cascadia DD15-Series 60, Century Class S/T, Columbia and Coronado platforms with Series 60 power. APUs are an auxiliary heating and cooling temperature management system that allows the operator to eliminate unnecessary idling to conserve fuel. Thermo King claims that based on their testing, trucks idling 2,500 hours annually can save up to 6.4 cents per mile, reducing fuel consumption by more than 85 percent. These figures are based on individual fuel consumption estimated from a fuel price of $3.00 per gallon.
TK also mentioned the add-on enhances cab comfort and performance by providing engine preheating, battery charging, sleeper compartment temperature control, along with providing optional electric power. A TriPac Human Machine Interface (HMI) is also available to customize and control the APU’s function.
3) Daimler Previews New Innovation Truck Platform
Utilizing the company’s Cascadia Class-8 platform, Daimler has previewed what customers may expect from future offerings. Next generation aerodynamics is featured on the specialized platform to raise the bar for an increase in fuel economy. The addition of European-style rear-wheel fairings smooth the airflow around the tandem rear wheels while under body panels, along with a front air splitter designed into the front bumper allow for a smoother transfer of air around the entire chassis. A redesigned roof deflector is also included. To also reduce drag, outside mirrors have been replaced with a side-view electronic camera system, which they claim eliminates blind spots and increases the field of view.
Company engineers have also included a new cruise-control system, dubbed the RunSmart Predictive Cruise system. This novel feature includes GPS along with digital mapping to provide a 3-D profile of the road ahead.
Further addressing the fuel savings issue, the truck can evaluate the upcoming road profile more than a mile in advance, and then determine the most efficient platform speed.
Aerodynamics is also approached with an integral Dual Ride Height system. At highway speed, the tractor height may be lowered, thus reducing the drag from the under chassis. The system incorporates Freightliner’s rear air suspension along with a proprietary front air suspension, as well. A single-drive axle is utilized with a load management feature, which can transfer weight to the drive axle in low-traction situations. Mandated tire pressure monitoring is included, with the company’s SmarTire wireless monitoring system, which is integrated with a Lectronix T7000 navigation/infotainment unit.
Daimler’s established BlueTec emissions system is also employed, along with ParkSmart, a fully integrated device for emission-free cooling and heating without engine idling. This concept allows for a second bank of batteries providing both 8-to-10 hours of cooling and 34 hours of heating, utilizing a diesel-fired coolant heater.
4) Navistar Unveils Harley-Davison Special Edition
Harley-Davison has entered the Class-8 realm of trucks by working together with Navistar in creating the International LoneStar Harley-Davison Special Edition. The new one-of-a-kind big rig will be both numbered and limited to 250 units produced in 2009.
Company officials feel the new platform is “the perfect combination of Lonestar originality and Harley-Davidson authenticity.” With the positive reception of the LoneStar brand earlier this year, the unique package certainly appears to be the next logical step. Designed in collaboration with Harley, the new platform is dripping with HD styling cues including authentic HD motorcycle headlamps, along with leather seats featuring the HD bar and shield.
Exterior-wise, the rig includes black metallic paint with contrasting silver/orange striping. A radical grille design, with styling cues taken directly from International’s 1939 D-Series, now combined with distinctive HD side graphics. Chrome stacks 7 inches in size, utilizing cut tips, are located above the West Coast-inspired set back fuel tanks. Custom-forged and machined 24.5-inch aluminum wheels feature special lug nut covers, along with Harley-Davison Bar and Shield center caps. A custom sunshade and aluminum battery box also feature HD logos. In addition, prospective owners can add more than 40 other customized options.
Inside the cab interior, which International engineers refer to as a “suite,” feature additional Harley cues including: black perforated leather upholstery, color coordinated with black-on-black stitching throughout. HD badging is also included on the front seatbacks and the rear couch bolster. A unique instrument cluster features hooded gauges with machine-turned aluminum faces. HD logos are embossed into the leather-covered upper door panels. Dark rosewood cabinets, along with a dark walnut floor, set off the sleeper area. A pull-down bed converts from a couch to a 42-inch –wide bunk. Finally, a limited production bright finish shift lever includes an engraved engine-turned number plate mounted on a custom shifter handle, which includes the owner’s name and limited edition serial number.
5) Mack Launches Adaptive Cruise Control
Mack Truck has introduced a new safety system that monitors safe vehicle-following distance through the use of proactive braking and driver alert. The new approach to adaptive cruise control integrates throttle, engine brake and foundation brakes into the cruise control function. Mack, working with Bendix, has developed a system that not only alerts the driver when the distance at the front of the vehicle changes, it also works to maintain a safe following distance at the revised speed.
The system utilizes a radar sensor located behind the front bumper to identify and track moving objects in front of the truck. With the cruise control operational and the speed set, the ACC maintains a set time gap behind the vehicle in front. If the subject vehicle slows and the time gap starts to decrease, ACC will reduce the throttle, apply the engine brake and finally apply the foundation brakes.
The new system applies about one-third of the foundation brake capacity, which means the driver still has the ability to apply full braking force, if necessary. The default time gap is 2.8 seconds; equaling 246 feet at 60 mph. Drivers still have the ability to set other time gaps with an optional distance switch. If the vehicle ahead increases speed and maintains a safe distance, the ACC will automatically resume the set speed.
When the system is on, the ACC provides several audible alerts to the driver, including decreased following distance, close cut-ins, along with an impact alert. The close following distance and cut-in alert features are always engaged, even when the cruise control is turned off. The Vorad side-detection system is available as an option, to further alert drivers in the right-side blind spot when changing lanes.
6) U.S. Federal Stimulus Package Aid Available For Kenworth Medium-Duty Hybrids, T800 LNG’s
Truck operators are encouraged to purchase new Kenworth medium-duty hybrid trucks and tractors or Kenworth T800 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles, along with permanently removing an equal number of aged existing diesel-fueled trucks from the marketplace. In exchange, operators are then eligible to apply for grant money now available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant money is subject to certain conditions, and may cover up to 25 percent of the cost of a new clean diesel, diesel hybrid or alternative fuel truck that replaces older models. The money, awarded on a fast-track basis, must be applied for immediately.
Qualified operators must submit their application for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants to one of two groups: 1.) Regional, state, local and port agencies with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality, or 2.) Non-profit organizations that represent or provide pollution reduction and educational services to those who operate diesel fleets or promote transportation or air quality. These groups will forward the applications to the specific EPA regional office for grant consideration. Note that DERA funding may also be combined with current Internal Revenue Service federal tax credits.
Kenworth T270 Class-6 and T370 Class 7 hybrids qualify for IRS credits of up to $6,000 and $12,000. Kenworth’s T800 LNG trucks qualify for up to $28,800 in IRS tax credits.