AERO KING?: Peterbilt says its Model 386 is tops in fuel efficiency when equipped with a new aero package it claims will improve fuel mileage by up to 12%.
NEW DASH: Peterbilt unveils a new dash with molded-in colour that’s resistant to scrapes and chips.
DENTON, Texas –Peterbilt has introduced a new aero package it says can improve the fuel efficiency of its Models 386 and 384 by up to 12%.
Already a fuel-efficient truck in its own right, the EPA SmartWay-certified Model 386 is 24% more aerodynamic when dressed up with Peterbilt’s new aerodynamic package, the company announced during an unveiling at its plant.
“We would say that this is the number one aerodynamic product in the marketplace,” Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer, said of the Model 386 with the new aerodynamic package. “We’re confident in our numbers;we’ve done our third-party testing.”
Five-hundred of the super-aero Model 386s have been in real-world service with Wal-Mart since late last year, and Sproull said on-track, wind-tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) testing have validated the company’s fuel efficiency claims.
Sproull pointed out that the aero package can save a typical operator US$5,600 per truck each year based on today’s fuel prices. The aero package is also available for the Model 384 (which is still awaiting EPA SmartWay certification) and also as a ‘Fuel Efficiency’ package for the traditional-styled Models 388 and 389. Similar fuel savings will be achieved with each of those vehicles when fitted with the new components, Peterbilt claims.
“For fleets and owner/operators who prefer classic styling, the fuel efficiency package offers fuel savings and uncompromised style and performance,” said Bill Jackson, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice-president.
The aero kit is also available through Paccar Parts for retrofit on each of those models.
The aerodynamic kit includes: a roof fairing and trim tabs to help direct the air over the cab and trailer; a new sleeper roof transition to improve air flow between the cab and sleeper roof lines; re-contoured chassis fairings with a kicked-out flair design that directs air around the rear tires and wheels; an aerodynamic battery box/toolbox; a composite sun visor that provides less aerodynamic drag; a 3-inch rubber sleeper extender to direct air over and around the trailer; and new aerodynamic mirrors.
In addition to being more aerodynamic, the new mirrors now feature four-way adjustability allowing for both horizontal and vertical adjustments, improving visibility.
Peterbilt has retained its two-piece windshield on the Model 386, making it easier and less expensive to replace broken panes. It doesn’t look as aerodynamic as the curved, one-piece windshield found on the Model 387, but surprisingly when it comes to aerodynamics the windshield is a “dead spot” according to Sproull. The new composite sun visor with a subtle gurney strip helps pass the air away from the windshield and over the cab and sleeper.
All this is combined with the Model 386’s lightweight aluminum cab and Peterbilt’s proprietary lightweight front air leaf suspension, the company points out.
The Peterbilt Model 386 boasts some interior enhancements as well, which it shares with the Models 384, 388, 389, 387 and 365.Most notable is a new dash, which features an “in-mold” process that embeds the colour directly into the dash material, protecting it from colour degradation.
The surface is resistant to fading, peeling and chipping, the company points out. The new charcoal dash has a contemporary look and is now standard on all interior packages. If you’re partial to the old-school wood-style finish, Paccar Parts offers an aftermarket panel that can be affixed to the dash.
To compliment the new dash, Peterbilt has redesigned its seats with coordinated colours and new fabric patterns. The new seats are optional on Platinum, Prestige and ProBilt interiors, the company announced.
Also new to Peterbilt is an upgraded HVAC system the company says provides 20% better air-conditioning as well as enhanced defrosting capabilities.
The new HVAC system features:a smaller, lighter aluminum evaporator; a molded door design to provide better sealing; the addition of a third door to the HVAC unit to isolate the heater core from the chilled air; a new fresh air intake drain design to provide better condensate drainage on steep grades; and a redesigned large air filter for easier access, removal and installation. •