Turbine-Powered Wave Semi Truck - Is This the Future?
Say Goodbye To Diesel
Walmart is known for low prices and savings its customers money on everything from eggplants to electronics. Now, the mega-corporation believes it can lead the way in fuel savings for its fleet of semi trucks that is used to transport all of those products along the highways.
Developers call the truck and trailer combination Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE). They claim the futuristic vehicle is significantly more aerodynamic than modern day tractor trailers. It was designed and built with the cooperation of Great Dane Trailers, Peterbilt, and Capstone Turbine. The turbine engine is powered by biodiesel, a petroleum-based diesel, and natural gas. Engineers are hoping to build an engine that can run on other fuels sources. The current power train is a microturbine that utilizes an electric motor and bank of batteries.
The narrow design is achieved by placing the operator in the center of the cab and flanking them with LCD screens instead of the traditional gauges. While the new arrangement is unorthodox, it does include a sleeping area behind the driver's seat. Entrance is made through a sliding door.
Walmart claims its carbon-fiber trailer is the first of its kind and weighs 4,000 pounds less than the type that is commonly used today. It is made of single-piece, 53-foot side panels. The trailer improves aerodynamics and increases cargo space by being rounded at the front. Lighter weight and more space allows single trucks to transport more product in one trip.
The WAVE is one of several concept trucks showing promise in achieving the new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will take effect in 2019. Peterbilt and Cummings have already made a "SuperTruck" that got 9.9 mpg. The AirFlow BulletTruck attained 13.4 mpg on a cross-country trip.
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