Freightliner’s Revolution Innovation concept truck is a key example of a Class 8 manufacturer attempting to maximize overall efficiency with better aerodynamics and weight savings. Freightliner partnered with Toray Carbon Fibers America for the build, resulting in an ultra-lightweight, carbon-fiber exterior. The Revolution’s hood, sidewalls, back wall, and roof cap mark the first time carbon fiber has ever been seen on a Class 8 truck. In addition to carbon fiber’s favorable strength-to-weight ratio, the components used allow for increased interior space. With features like a retractable bunk bed, pull-down storage, back access door, and no passenger-side door, this type of crossover day-cab targets solo, long-haul drivers.Freightliner’s Revolution Innovation concept truck is a key example of a Class 8 manufactu Eighty thousand people can’t be wrong. That’s the collective number of attendees at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show held in Louisville, Kentucky. For 2012, the world’s largest commercial truck tradeshow included 1,070 exhibitors, representing 47 states and 8 different countries. The three-day event allowed fleet owners, industry professionals, and truck drivers to meet, greet, and connect with both aftermarket up-fitters and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Squeezing MPG With high fuel prices gnawing away at profits, it’s no surprise that fuel efficiency was one of the major themes this year. Many OEs revealed new, innovative plans to reduce fuel consumption, such as better aerodynamics, reduced engine speeds while cruising, lower rolling resistance, and ways to cut weight. All-around efficiency is paramount going forward, as the cost of the everyday necessities we need are directly impacted by the price of diesel. The In-House Approach Stemming from the need to improve efficiency, several Class 8 truck manufacturers are moving toward vertical integration, where the powertrain is designed, tested, and manufactured in-house. Why are select OEs choosing to do this? Because 100 percent integration offers complete control over the powertrain—no third-party engine, transmission, or axle suppliers. To be sure, names like Cummins and Eaton won’t become strangers to the Class 8 industry (in fact, if anything, they will strive to make their products better than ever before), but some manufacturers believe powertrain optimization can only be realized if everything is done in-house. Read on for our breaking news. As one of several OEMs offering complete powertrain packages, Daimler AG (the parent company of Detroit Diesel Corporation, and Freightliner for that matter) introduced the Detroit transmission to go along with its axles and legendary engines at this year’s show. The 12-speed, automated manual transmission features hill-start aid (to prevent rollback), enhanced cruise control function with an improved dash display, and driver-selectable shift modes for performance and economy. According to Daimler, its automated manual transmission technology has been undergoing extensive testing in several European markets since 2005.As one of several OEMs offering complete powertrain packages, Daimler AG (the parent compa This photo illustrates Mack Trucks’ vertical integration strategy. Its Super Econodyne powertrain system includes its own engine, transmission, and axles. According to Mack, the 415hp to 505hp-rated MP8 engine (left) uses fewer moving parts than the competition (such as one-piece steel pistons). Mack’s 12-speed, automated manual transmission (center), called an mDRIVE, has an input torque capacity of 1,920 lb-ft and has two-speed reverse functionality. A soft cruise control option allows the engine to turn very low rpm on the highway (1,160 rpm vs. 1,380 rpm) for additional fuel savings of up to 2 percent. Last but not least, Mack’s proprietary drive axles are built in-house as well. An in-house software system ties every component together, which Mack says results in industry-leading fuel efficiency without sacrificing power or performance.This photo illustrates Mack Trucks’ vertical integration strategy. Its Super Econodyne pow The key to efficiency oftentimes means doing more with less. International took this approach with its MaxxForce 13 common-rail engine, which will now be available in its Lonestar truck. With a 500hp rating (and weighing 750 pounds less than a MaxxForce 15), the 12.4L mill is a viable alternative to 15.0L-size engines making similar power. According to Navistar’s Senior Vice President of North American Truck Sales Operations, Jim Hebe, “This is an honest-to-God strong engine.”The key to efficiency oftentimes means doing more with less. International took this appro For conventional 18-wheelers, Alcoa is offering a new wheel called the LvL ONE, which it says is lighter, brighter, and stronger than the competition. According to Alcoa, the 22 1/2-inch-diameter, 8 1/4-inch-wide forged-aluminum wheels can save as much as 648 pounds over standard steel wheels, which allows drivers to either increase their total payload or improve their fuel efficiency. At just 45 1/2 pounds, the LvL ONE doesn’t sacrifice strength in the least, as it still has a 7,400-pound load rating per wheel (a comparable steel wheel weighs roughly 80 pounds).For conventional 18-wheelers, Alcoa is offering a new wheel called the LvL ONE, which it s Contributing to both the weight savings and fuel efficiency department are Continental’s HDL2 Eco Plus tires. The 445/50R22.5 wide-single tires were designed for trucks running super-single wheels which, in conjunction with aluminum wheels on a typical five-axle combination, can save drivers nearly 700 pounds. According to Continental’s Clif Armstrong, “This means our customers can boost their payloads to carry additional cargo and make every truckload count.” Thanks to the HDL2’s advanced compounding and straighter, narrow, groove designs, they provide very low rolling resistance, which enables better fuel economy.Contributing to both the weight savings and fuel efficiency department are Continental’s H Delving once again into a Daimler product, Western Star’s 4900SB FE model is said to be seeing the most improved fuel economy results of any other Western Star tractor. The SB stands for setback, and the FE refers to the fuel efficiency package it’s equipped with. The fuel-friendly engine package includes a Detroit DD15 engine, which features BlueTec SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology. An aerodynamic, high-visibility hood is also said to aid in fuel efficiency.Delving once again into a Daimler product, Western Star’s 4900SB FE model is said to be se By Mike McGlothlin Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!