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Freightliner unveils the Cascadia
New Class 8 truck to succeed Columbia and Century Class vehicles

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Freightliner has introduced a new Class 8 truck it says will deliver improved fuel mileage, driv...

Freightliner says its Cascadia is already 2010 compatible and will also deliver best-in-class aerodynamics.
Freightliner says its Cascadia is already 2010 compatible and will also deliver best-in-class aerodynamics.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Freightliner has introduced a new Class 8 truck it says will deliver improved fuel mileage, driver comfort and ergonomics. The Cascadia, unveiled here today, will eventually replace the Columbia and Century Class vehicles.

The truck was designed with the 2010 emissions standards in mind and brought to market early to provide fleets and owner/operators with a way to begin recouping the increased costs associated with the latest rounds of emissions standards. Freightliner officials said the Cascadia offers a 3% improvement in fuel economy over previous models and they told that the new model will offer best-in-class aerodynamics.

“Our customers are faced with the consequences of ever-tightening emissions standards, higher fuel prices, rapidly escalating wages and benefits, and a dire shortage of maintenance technicians,” said Chris Patterson, president and CEO of Freightliner. He said the company opted to forge ahead with its latest offering even in the face of a downturn in the truck market, because customers demanded a way to recover some of the costs associated with the latest generation of heavy-duty vehicles.

Freightliner engineers performed 2,500 hours of wind tunnel testing at their own full-scale wind tunnel in Portland and refined components to improve airflow. The Cascadia is the first Freightliner truck designed and engineered in Freightliners wind tunnel.

“Our wind tunnel was constructed expressly for this kind of new model development,” Patterson said. “Apparently tiny tweaks in the design made possible by our unlimited use of our own facility can save owners hundreds of dollars in fuel consumption over the life of their truck.”

A fully-integrated, battery-powered auxiliary HVAC system and a cooling system that minimizes fan-on and air-conditioning compressor on-time also contributes to improved fuel mileage, the company said.

The Cascadia has been designed to easily accommodate DaimlerChryslers new global engine a Detroit Diesel heavy-duty engine family which will debut later this year. The engine family will be used in DaimlerChrysler Truck Group vehicles around the world, once launched in Freightliner trucks.

Another enhancement boasted by the new model is its lightweight construction that allows for increased payload. The cab is constructed of aluminum and the hood, bumper and quarter fenders have been re-engineered to save weight.

The truck has also been designed to minimize downtime. Improved diagnostics, an HVAC system that requires fewer repairs and breakaway side extenders help keep the truck out of the shop, Freightliner officials announced. Other features that aim to increase uptime include a roped-in windshield that is easy to replace, extended headlamp bulbs as well as an easy to access engine.

The company is confident the Cascadia will be a hit with drivers thanks to its productivity-enhancing features including improved ergonomics and additional lighting and storage.

“Recruiting drivers is challenging, so many of our customers wanted to add more style and comfort features to their fleets without breaking the bank,” said Patterson. “The Cascadia offers these amenities without compromise.”

The new truck features double door and window seals, better insulation and improved engine and cab mounts to minimize noise within the cab. Seats, door openings and the entry into the sleeper cab have all been enlarged to further enhance driver comfort.

Freightliners rack and pinion steering will be available on the Cascadia, improving handling and maneuverability.

“Our customers have given us such positive feedback on rack and pinion steering’s functional and safety benefits that we decided to make it an option on the Cascadia,” Patterson said.

The Cascadia is already in limited production and will be available for order in mid-May, the company announced. Full-scale production will commence in August. The June issue of Truck News and Truck West will contain a full report on the Cascadia, including a first-hand driving review.

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