Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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Caterpillar T he new CT681 (shown) with forward-set steer axle joins the Cat Truck series which began in 2011 with the axle-back CT660. CT681's plain nose is preferred by fleet operators of dump and concrete mixer trucks, Cat said in introducing the model early this year and displaying it in Octo- ber (see Test Drive on page 36). In 2015, there will be a CT680 tractor, also with a forward-set steer axle but fancier styling to suit premium-minded buyers. Cat Trucks are aimed at vocational duties and built by Navistar with the International PayStar 5000 as a base; they use Navistar's 12.4-liter N13 diesel which Cat calls the CT13. Cat's own CX31 full-automatic is the most popular transmission, followed by Eaton manual and UltraShift AMTs. Freightliner N ow the dominant builder in heavy- and medium-duty segments, Freightliner fields the Cascadia as its main Class 8 highway tractor. It comes as a daycab, and with mid- and high-roof sleepers in several lengths. Cascadia Evolution (shown) is the most fuel-efficient model, and uses advanced aerodynamics and integrated powertrains with Detroit-only components, including the DT12 AMT, or Cummins-Eaton versions. Traditionally styled Coro- nado is the premium highway tractor and, like Cascadia, is available with Detroit 12.8-liter DD13, 14.8-liter DD15 and 15.6-liter DD16 diesels, which Freightliner strongly promotes, and Cummins' 11.9-liter ISX12 and 14.9-liter ISX15 diesels. Safety technology is now a larger part of the builder's marketing strategy. Heavy severe-duty models are suitably beefed up for on/off-road service and include the 108SD, 114SD and 122SD, the latter with styling altera- tions to separate it from the former Coronado SD. Freight- liner uses natural gas engines from Cummins Westport. 58 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com tandems where all four wheels are powered, the 6x2 is harder to sell on a used truck, but that will likely change as word of its advantages gets around, according to a recent industry study. Some trends continue. Builders are promoting proprietary diesels and integrated powertrains, and they report a strong move to automated mechanical transmissions, or AMTs. Self-shifting gearboxes allow engines to operate efficiently and thus con- tribute to better fuel economy than manuals. AMTs and full automatics remove much of the work of driv- ing and let drivers concentrate on the road and traffic. They're easy to learn to operate, and therefore widen the pool of potential drivers from savvy gear jammers to rookies of all demographic backgrounds. The in- dustry's take rate on AMTs is about 30%, according to builder reports. A prime example of the above trends is Volvo Trucks. By this year's third quarter it reported that its own D series diesels went into 92% of all the trucks it builds, and nearly 75% got Volvo's I-Shift automated me- chanical transmission. The 12-speed I-Shift is standard on all highway truck and tractor models, though it's only available with Volvo engines. The high take for Volvo's integrated powertrain reflects customer satisfac- tion with the efficiency and reliabil- ity of the products, said Seth Gruber, the company's marketing communi- cations director. Those penetrations have climbed steadily, compared to about 52% for Volvo engines and 15% for the I-Shift in 2008. Volvo also offers Cummins' ISX15 in VN road tractors and Eaton's manual and automated transmissions in certain models. A small number of customers spec Cummins Westport natural gas engines, which most Class 8 builders use instead of developing their own natural gas power. Volvo has slowed development of dual-fuel and dimethyl ether-fired engines because demand for alternative fuels UPDATE

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