Monday, March 17, 2014

Fuel-Efficient Big Rig From Walmart


 A Fuel-Efficient Big Rig From Walmart That Looks Like a Smushed Corvette
 
Originally printed in Wired written by Keith Barry

 Efficiency counts when you have one of the world’s largest commercial truck fleets. That’s why Walmart has developed a new big rig that uses a radical design to increase airflow and cut fuel use.


It’s called the WAVE, which stands for Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience. It’s a concept truck and trailer that previews the future of long-haul freight, and it’s designed by Walmart in partnership with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine.

The cab might look like it ran over the back half of a Corvette, but that low profile shape makes it 20 percent more aerodynamic than your standard rig. It’s towing the world’s first 53-foot carbon fiber trailer, which you most certainly would not want to catch on a low bridge.

Inside, the driver sits in the middle–F1 style–and is flanked by LCD displays. But it’s not just for driving: There’s also a sleek sleeper cabin in the back.

The truck uses a turbine-powered battery-electric hybrid drivetrain, and the combustion engine can run on diesel, natural gas and biodiesel.

Curiously, there’s no mention of estimated fuel economy. But even the aerodynamic gains alone could save Walmart a massive amount of money. The company has a fleet of over 6,000 trucks, so every mile per gallon saved is monumental.

But right now actual numbers don’t matter–this is just a concept.

“It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches,” says Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon. But if there’s an industry in need of disruption, trucking is it, and the WAVE could point the way forward for the future of long-haul hauling.

Here is a link to the original article: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/walmart-big-rig/

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