One of my hot to trot issue when it comes to transportation is the gross mass of most cars , as I see it every extra kilo of a car is a reason for its fuel inefficiency. You only have to look at the hyper sports cars to see the value of using light weight composites for making the body/chassis both stronger and stiffer and more durable than steel or aluminium. The same rationale can be applied to heavy road transport where most trucks are outrageously heavy and on top of that they tend to have the aerodynamics of a house brick. weight is a big deal but the majority of the energy used to move our goods on the roads is used to overcome aerodynamic drag the futuristic truck in this article claims a 20% reduction in drag from the shape of the truck and a huge weight saving from the use of carbon fibre to construct the trailer. While I have my doubts about the hybrid drive train everything else in this truck seems to be right on the money.
The vehicle features what Walmart describes as a “prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain (or microturbine-hybrid powertrain) combined with an electric motor and battery storage system.” It can reportedly run on diesel, natural gas, biodiesel “and probably other fuels still to be developed.”
Additionally, it is said to be 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company’s existing trucks.
The cab of the tractor unit features a sliding door, a center-mounted driver’s seat, an all-LCD dash that can be customized to suit the driver’s preferences, and a full-sized sleeper.
The trailer is reportedly the first one to ever be built completely of carbon fiber, and also incorporates the first 53-foot-long (16 m) one-piece carbon fiber panels ever made. The use of that material results in claimed weight savings of approximately 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) over a conventional trailer. Both its aerodynamics and its cargo capacity are boosted by a convex nose that sits flush the concave backside of the tractor.
So, will we ever see one of the things on the highway? In a recent statement, Walmart President Doug McMillon wrote, “It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches.”
If you like freaky-looking high-concept transport trucks, however, be sure to also check out the German Innotruck – which actually looks a bit like WAVE.
Efficient, quiet and with better driver facilities and a greater payload and on top of that the longevity of the machines should be very good as much as I love trains and the concept of rail freight I can’t ignore the fact that for many things there will always be a need for heavy road haulage and if these innovations become common (as I expect that they will)there should be a lot of happy transport companies out there.