NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — 10.67 miles per gallon: That’s the fuel economy number posted on the test track by a 2014 Cascadia Evolution powered by the newly designed Detroit DD15 engine and featuring enhanced aerodynamic specs, Freightliner Trucks said Wednesday.
The enhanced Cascadia Evolution was tested prior to accompanying Freightliner’s recent cross-country Evolution of Efficiency Tour.
The 2014 production model features some of the most advanced achievements in the industry designed to improve airflow and aerodynamics, Freightliner officials explained in a press conference ahead of dealer meetings here this week.
The Cascadia Evolution was equipped with fuel-squeezing options, including the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission with wide-base tires, a 6x2 drivetrain configuration, and Daimler-designed aerodynamic trailer enhancements which were included to represent the current state of trailer aerodynamics available in the aftermarket. It delivers up to an additional 7 percent improvement in fuel economy over an EPA 2010-compliant Cascadia equipped with a first generation aerodynamic package and up to a 5 percent improvement compared to a current model year 2013 Cascadia equipped with the latest aerodynamic upgrades.
“The optimally spec’d Cascadia Evolution truly showcases the depth of our aerodynamic and powertrain solutions,” said TJ Reed, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “We are excited about what these significant fuel savings results can mean for our customers, and towards our overall objective of lowering cost of operation and improving our customers’ bottom lines.”
The Cascadia Evolution was tested at the Continental Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. The truck traveled the 8.5 mile closed-course track for 1,000 miles nonstop at an average speed of 60 mph, with a gross weight of 76,000 lbs. Fuel consumption and distance traveled were measured at the end of the demonstration by Automotive Testing and Development Services (ATDS), an independent, third-party auditor using high-accuracy fuel flow meters.
“The closed-track demonstration enabled us to eliminate interfering elements of a typical on-highway fuel economy test such as traffic, construction and speed variations,” said Al Pearson, chief engineer, product validation engineering for Daimler Trucks North America. “The use of a closed test track allows us to demonstrate pure fuel economy potential with ambient weather conditions being the only uncontrollable factor.”
On the Evolution of Efficiency cross-country tour, which ran 2,400 miles from San Diego to Gastonia, N.C., the optimally spec’d rig achieved 9.31 miles per gallon and was operated at a weight of 76,000 lbs. at a cruise speed of 62 miles per hour. Fuel consumption and distance traveled were again documented by ATDS.
“DTNA allocates a major part of our engineering research, design and testing resources solely to fuel economy improvement projects. We conduct all of our final fuel economy validations of new product features using enhanced, over-the-road testing to better predict what our customers will experience,” said Pearson. “The coupling of this with closed-track testing helps us understand the maximum range of benefits a package will provide. The Evolution of Efficiency Tour and accompanying closed track demonstration are a great example of our rigorous approach to fuel economy validation.”
Available only in the Cascadia Evolution, the newly designed DD15 engine features a proprietary asymmetric turbocharger with a next-generation amplified common rail system (ACRS). The asymmetric turbocharger is less complex than variable geometry turbos and, because it is proprietary, is optimally matched to the DD15’s EGR system for best real world fuel consumption, resulting in excellent performance, according to the company. The next-generation ACRS also delivers higher injection pressure for better combustion control and a simplified design for optimal regenerations.
The enhanced DD15 is more than 100 lbs. lighter than its predecessor and includes an improved fuel filter module with two filters that deliver lower maintenance costs with an industry-leading 100,000 mile filter change interval.
The engine also features a variable speed water pump that allows for lower impeller speeds, resulting in less parasitic load, improved DDEC electronics for better engine and aftertreatment system management and an optimized piston design for less friction and oil consumption.
Further adding to the overall performance of the Cascadia Evolution, the DD15’s BlueTec emissions technology 1-Box package has been optimized to decrease size, weight and complexity.
With new, standard features that combine the Cascadia’s already sleek profile with enhanced aerodynamics, the Cascadia Evolution incorporates several frontal area updates designed to improve airflow and aerodynamics including a new air dam, bumper closure and a hood-to-bumper fill.
The Cascadia Evolution also includes an improved windshield seal, elliptical-shaped aerodynamic mirrors and an integrated antenna. New wheel covers on the rear tandem axles, chassis side fairings and 20-inch side extenders further contribute to the truck’s efficiency.
Cooling enhancements include a 1,400 square-inch radiator, which features a revised baffling system and new radiator mounting design that contribute to improved cooling capacity and increased durability.
Also standard with the Cascadia Evolution is Freightliner’s proprietary Run Smart Predictive Cruise system. This technology evaluates the road profile more than one mile in advance, determines the most efficient vehicle speed, and then adjusts the actual speed of the truck for maximum fuel efficiency.
“We examined every detail to ensure that no stone was left unturned when developing the Cascadia Evolution,” Reed said.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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