When Cummins entered its #28 Special racecar in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 Race, the company wasn’t looking to get into the racing business. It was trying to prove a point about diesel engines, and boy, did they succeed.
Volvo Trucks offers a very unique 6×2 tractor platform, where the rear axle does the driving while the forward axle in the tandem group goes along for the ride. Sometimes called a “pusher” or “dead axle,” this axle is anything but dead.
In this Focus On episode, Jim Park will Focus On his impressions of Caterpillar’s CT680L’s driving experience. Specifically, he highlights the various driver amenities and cab features that reduce cab noise and make the driving experience pleasant.
True zero-emissions freight transportation is closer to reality than you might think. TransPower USA has five Class 8 tractors currently in service at the Port of Long Beach, CA. The company also has several yard shunt tractors and school buses in real-world service.
These trucks are not cobbled together McGiver jobs, either. They are highly engineered and look just like factory installations. These trucks could be the long sought-after solution to diesel emissions in areas with real air quality issues.
We recently had a opportunity to test drive one of these electric Class 8 trucks and found it to be a very functional alternative to a diesel tractor. We had the truck without a trailer, so we can’t report on its pulling power, but the company says the truck is powered by two 200-hp electric motors. That’s 400 horsepower, plus you get the benefit of the very high torque output of the electric motors.
PITTSFORD, NY — Since you can’t physically sit beside your drivers all day, observing and coaching their driving habits and performance, some sort of monitoring tool can be quite useful. However, if drivers see such devices as annoying or impeding their ability to drive the truck, they won’t happily accept the intrusion.
LAS VEGAS — What happens in Las Vegas is supposed to stay in Las Vegas, but that certainly not the case with Daimler Trucks’ recently introduced Inspiration Truck. It’s the autonomous commercial vehicle that has taken the world by storm. Literally. Daimler Trucks invited more than 200 journalists from four continents to cover the event, and stories have appeared in over 500 newspapers and on TV news shows all over the globe. Today’s Trucking was there too, of course. And we had our chance to ride in the truck. We were not allowed to drive it at this event because it requires some driver certification, which there wasn’t time to procure. We did come back from the launch event with this video of our test drive, with Equipment Editor Jim Park in the right-hand seat.
First revealed at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Dana’s Dual Range Disconnect drive axle system offers the fuel savings benefit of a downsped 6×2 drivetrain and the performance benefits of conventional 6×4 setup with a mid-range axle ratio. The key word here is disconnect. While running at speeds up to about 54 mph, the system functions as a 6×4 with torque going to all four wheels for optimum traction. It also runs at a 3.10:1 ratio for better performance and startability. Above 54 mph, the interaxle driveshaft disengages, leaving the driving to only the forward drive axle. Interestingly, the axle ratio of the forward axle is 2.26:1, which lowers engine rpm and in effect creates a downsped drive train. The benefit, of course, is better fuel economy resulting from a 300-400 rpm drop in engine speed.
Volvo Trucks has put a new spin on an old powertrain management strategy; by locking out top gear on its I-Shift overdrive transmission, drivers can pull loads efficiently in 11th gear (direct drive) and still get the performance they want. When running empty, sensors in the transmission and the suspension sense the lower weight and unlock 12th gear, which is overdrive. The truck can cruise home in at a very low engine speed at a higher road speed.
This video explains how Adaptive Gearing works and features more excerpts from an interview with Gene Brice, co-owner of Idaho Milk Transport. Adaptive Gearing is ideally suited to tank fleets that run about half their miles empty, and when you hear Brice’s fuel economy with this system, you’ll be asking if it can work for you too.
And don’t forget to check out our Focus On report on Volvo’s Adaptive Loading system to see what it has to offer.