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6x2s GETTING MORE STREET CRED

Seems I’ve been writing a lot about 6x2 axle configurations over the past year, as OEMs have been positioning this specification as a good way to save about 400 lbs in weight. Many carriers in Canada are still concerned about traction...


Seems I’ve been writing a lot about 6×2 axle configurations over the past year, as OEMs have been positioning this specification as a good way to save about 400 lbs in weight. Many carriers in Canada are still concerned about traction issues, and not all provinces allow 6x2s. However, the advent of electronic load transferring systems such as Meritor’s ECAS effectively address the traction issue. These systems automatically and instantaneously shift the weight of the load to the driven axle when wheel spin is detected. I’ve seen several demonstrations of the system in action and it’s really quite impressive.

Fleets in Canada may also be wary of 6x2s because there aren’t a lot of other carriers operating them here. With a dearth of data to support the fuel savings, many fleets may be hesitant to take the plunge. Worries also exist about the resale value of such trucks. It should be noted, 6x2s are fairly mainstream in Europe – including Scandinavia where operating conditions aren’t that unlike our own.

Recently, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) issued a white paper on 6x2s that brought together data from the OEMs, Performance Innovation Transport (PIT) and carriers operating in their real-world applications. What NACFE found was that fleets that use 6x2s stand to improve their fuel economy by about 2.5%. Con-Way, UPS and Nussbaum were among the fleets surveyed. Their fuel savings ranged from 1.9% to 4.6%, with an average of 3.5%.

OEM testing by Volvo and Freightliner produced fuel savings of 1.6% and 2.2% respectively. And PIT’s testing with NACFE showed fuel savings of 1.9% to 2.8%, depending on the vehicle and test methodology used. The results of this study by NACFE supported claims from manufacturers and anecdotal information from fleets that there are, in fact, significant fuel savings to be had from selecting a 6×2 axle configuration. Now the question becomes, can Canadian carriers be convinced that traction is a non-issue with the latest electronics? And can provinces such as B.C., which currently don’t allow 6x2s, be convinced to approve them given the proven fuel savings and corresponding GHG reductions that are available?

In the meantime, here’s some more reading material about 6x2s and here’s where you can find NACFE’s full report.


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1 Comment » for 6x2s GETTING MORE STREET CRED
  1. Max Smoot says:

    Still waiting for a test of a 6×2 dragging a b-train in BC. Tandem drive is the law in this weight class but might change if a reasonable test were conducted.

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