New Freightliner – the first Class 8 truck designed in the windtunnel
May 7, 2007 With fuel economy becoming a crucial factor in freight transportation, it was only a matter of time before our biggest road users began using the windtunnel to optimise performance and Freightliner’s new Cascadia is the first Class 8 truck designed this way. The result is a 3 percent improvement in fuel economy over previous models. When developing the Cascadia, Freightliner studied the needs of drivers and how they operate their vehicles. This feedback was the basis for design features like a wider cab with automotive styling, ergonomic controls, and extensive lighting and storage space to make the cab more comfortable and livable. The Cascadia will be available for order next week, with trucks rolling off production lines in August.
Built from an entirely new platform, the Cascadia delivers significant fuel savings and is designed based on the Run Smart philosophy to be the most productive, efficient, and drivable truck on the market. Plus, with its new styling, a quieter and more comfortable cab, ergonomic controls, and exceptional handling, the Cascadia was specifically constructed with driver comfort and improved operating ratios in mind.
Andreas Renschler, Member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management responsible for the Truck Group, said at the official presentation of the new truck in Charlotte, North Carolina: “With our five truck brands Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star, Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi Fuso ensuring our world-wide presence, we are able to leverage the global resources and expertise of the Truck Group for the benefit of each brand.” Renschler continued: “The Cascadia profits in many ways from our global experience: It is the first truck that will be equipped with our new global Heavy-Duty Engine Platform as well as the new common Electric/ Electronic architecture. Freightliner’s new flagship truck will be manufactured using our high level DaimlerChrysler production system.”
The Cascadia was designed to easily accept EPA ’07 emission engines. Its expandable electronic platform can easily accommodate the technology. Plus, the Cascadia was built to be paired with the all-new global Heavy-Duty Engine Platform, the first of which will debut later this year under the Detroit Diesel engine brand.
The Cascadia offers a three percent improvement in fuel economy over previous models. To achieve this, more than one million engineering hours, including 2,500 hours in Freightliner’s state-of-the-art full scale wind tunnel, went into its development. It is the first truck built and engineered using Freightliner LLC’s wind tunnel – the only testing facility in the world built specifically for Class 8 vehicles.
“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 LLC. “Freightliner was built on solving our customers’ most pressing concerns, and only Freightliner has the resources and the know-how to bring a completely new model to market at this difficult time for the trucking and truck-building industries.”
Freightliner initiated an extensive study of its key customers’ needs and issues to evaluate product improvements that could alleviate these stresses. Numerous fleet owners and owner-operators provided detailed feedback about everything from cost-saving features to comfort options and aesthetic attributes.
Thus the truck also was designed to maximize payload. The aluminum cab boasts a significant weight savings over steel, and the hood, bumper and quarter fenders are lighter than comparable models. All of these improvements enable operators to haul more freight.
Features such as improved diagnostics, an HVAC system designed to reduce repair frequency, and breakaway side extenders ensure that the Cascadia stays on the road and out of the shop. Other maintenance upgrades include an easy-to-replace roped-in windshield, extended life headlamp bulbs, and easy access to the engine and accessory components mounted to it.