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New Freightliner Class 8 Platform Improves Fuel Economy 3%

Freightliner Trucks has introduced the Cascadia—a new Class 8 truck for on-highway applications that offers a 3% improvement in fuel economy over earlier models.

The Freightliner Cascadia.

To achieve the efficiency improvement, Freightliner spent more than one million engineering hours, including 2,500 hours in a full scale wind tunnel, on the truck’s its development. It is the first truck built and engineered using Freightliner LLC’s wind tunnel—the only testing facility in the world built specifically for Class 8 vehicles.

The Cascadia was designed to easily accept EPA ’07 emission engines and adapt with little change to the new EPA ’10 standards. Its expandable DaimlerChrysler-engineered electronic platform can accommodate the technology. Plus, the Cascadia was built to be optimized with the all-new EPA ’10-ready Detroit Diesel heavy-duty engine family, the first of which will debut later this year.

Other fuel-saving features on the Cascadia include a fully integrated, battery-powered auxiliary HVAC system and an engine cooling system that minimizes engine fan and air-conditioning compressor on-time.

Freightliner LLC produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a part of DaimlerChrysler’s Truck Group.


Cameron Dell

I've never understood why them don't mount the engine transversally. It would seem to me that it would be the same process as most buses have only reversed. By getting rid of the hypo-gears you could have about 15% saving in fuel plus added power. What am I missing about this truck thing.

Harvey D.

Was this published in 1973?


A million engineering hours spent , and what have you got 3%
should we be impressed by this achivement ?
Its like the whole of the auto industry are permenatly out
to lunch , and I dont just mean America!
If you cost engineering time out at $150 per hour that means
that $150000000 has been spent saving a lousey 3%.
I am no engineer , but I reckon a fibre glass undershield bolted
to the underside of the chassis could save more than 3%!


As the last person noted, they are not an engineer. A 3% improvement in the real world is extremely significant. I see all kinds of comments like: "If they only did ..." or "a simple change would be ...". These comments are made by people that have never engineered a complicated product. A vehicle is an extremely complex machine with hundreds of thousands parts. There is no magic silver bullet that will save 3% for no extra cost or developement time. Things like fuel economy are part of a long list of requirements that engineers must juggle. Things like driver comfort, reliablilty, styling, cost, etc. may be in direct conflict with fuel economy and in many cases have a greater influence in the buying decision.


I agree with Jon. Not to mention that even if 3% doesn't sound like a lot, considering the miles driven by a truck like this the savings will add up to far more than the average person could save by not driving a car at all. Also, even if they did improve the aerodynamic properties of the tractor, the trailer is still a huge source of wind resistance which can't be controlled by the truck manufacturer.


3% is good. Let's translate this. 2500 miles per week. 130k per year. My fleets fuel efficiency: 5.5 mpg. 130k/5.5=23,636 ga diesel vs. 130k/(5.5*1.03)=22,948 gallons A difference of 688 gallons or $2k annually. Not to mention the 7.6 tons of CO2 avoided.

However - I would like to point this out - more has to be done. We need to reach a much higher fuel efficiency. Styling be darned! Put some cowlings on this thing! Add some insulation to the interior! Build on an APU - or other idlefree technology. There are alot of things the industry can do. One of these companies are going to figure this out - and own the industry for a few years like Boeing owns Airbus right now.

John Schreiber

3% is great, these are passive gains from the chassis using existing powertrains. Another 3% could show up in the newer powertrains, perhaps with turbocompounding and other technologies that have not been cost effective until now. And Eric, absolutely: styling be darned.

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