Walmart have showcased its truck of the future, featuring leading edge aerodynamics, an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain, electrified auxiliary components, and a trailer body built exclusively with carbon fibre.
Back in 2005, Walmart announced plans to double its fleet efficiency by 2015, the company is one of Americas largest private fleet operators with their trucks logging millions of miles every year. This new project aims to demonstrate a wide range of cutting edge technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels.
The prototype called Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experiment or WAVE for short, is a concept truck that previews the future of freight transport and is designed by Walmat in partnership with Peterbilt, Roush Engineering, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine.
Designers used extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to optimise the truck’s styling. The truck’s shape represents a 20 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag over Walmart’s current Peterbilt Model 386. By placing the cab over the engine, the truck’s wheelbase is greatly shortened, resulting in reduced weight and better manoeuvrability.
The vehicle’s trailer, manufactured by Great Dane Trailers, offers a host of fuel-saving features. The trailer body is built almost exclusively with carbon fibre, including one-piece carbon fibre panels for the roof and sidewalls, saving nearly 4,000 pounds when compared to traditional designs. The trailer’s convex nose also enhances aerodynamics while maintaining storage space inside the trailer. Other special features of the trailer include special low-amperage LED lighting strips, composite trailer skirts, aerodynamic disc wheel coverings, a Posi-lift suspension, and a one-piece, fibreglass-reinforced floor panel with a 16,000 pound forklift rating.