Peterbilt launches new aero flagship
LAS VEGAS (Feb. 5) — Amidst the glitz of this over-the-top town, Peterbilt has introduced its newest product platform, the Model 387 aerodynamic conventional truck. Designed from an almost clean sheet of paper, it borrows a few elements from its Paccar Inc. stablemate, the Kenworth T2000, which is a first for the Texas-based company. The windshield, doors, sleeper skin (but not the structure), and mirrors are the same, and the whole package bears more than a slight resemblance to the KW while being quite different under the surface.
Production will start some time this summer, but Peterbilt general manager Nick Panza says he’s in no hurry. The truck is in final testing now and the Denton, Texas plant will start building the 387 “when everything is right.” First to come on stream will be the 112-inch medium-length cab, with the longer 120-inch model projected for later in the year. Front-axle setback is 48.4 inches on both trucks.
Obviously, much attention was paid to aerodynamics, and the new truck is said to produce a significant 13% less drag than the most efficient existing Pete. The aluminum/composite cab maintains the weight advantages of the Model 377 or 385 while offering 17% more room — including 30 inches between the seats.
Among its most interesting features: an engine-mounted cooling system with radiator and charge-air cooler placed side by side; an electrical system based on four isolated “regional load centres” and on multiplexing to reduce wiring complexity and the electrical system parts count by 45%; a foot-actuated tilt/telescoping steering wheel; big 3.5-gallon windshield-washer reservoir; and a three-piece hood to make repairs easier and cheaper.
Our brief look at the new Pete left us most impressed by the superior materials and the excellent finish of the interior.
Interestingly, when Peterbilt development people were benchmarking the competition to set design goals, they looked not only at other trucks but also at luxury cars, recreational vehicles, boats, and even corporate jets.
Look for a full report in the March issue of Today’s Trucking.
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