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Freightliner Evolution – What Tomorrows Big Rig Will Look Like

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Old 09-03-2012, 03:59 PM
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Freightliner Evolution – What Tomorrows Big Rig Will Look Like

Drivetrain and Aero performance is improving quickly.

Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Sept 3, 2012

The 2014 Cascadia Evolution is being prepped for the open road sometime next year.

The Cascadia Evolution builds upon the current Cascadia by further improving fuel efficiency and lower emissions thanks to even more advanced aerodynamics, the latest turbo diesel drivetrain(s) and fleet management tools. All-in, the 2014 Cascadia Revolution in set to deliver an impressive 7% increase in fuel economy over the already EPA 2010-compliant Cascadia on the road today.

The new DD15 -- The DD15 includes a proprietary asymmetric turbocharger, improved engine electronics, next-generation ACRS fuel system, new piston design, variable speed water pump and more. It also utilizes BlueTec SCR emissions technology, which meets EPA clean air requirements. As a result, you can expect better fuel economy than ever before.


An evolved 455 to 505 HP Detroit DD15 turbo diesel engine provides an improvement in performance, emissions and efficiency. The current Detroit DD15 is an industry leader, helping make the original Cascadia model a top performer. The next generation Cascadia Evolution is set to offer even more.

Features Include an Asymmetric Turbocharger for reduced weight and complexity; improved performance, next-generation Amplified Common Rail Fuel System (ACRS) – higher injector pressure for improved combustion control, variable Speed Water Pump which reduces engine load, a Fuel Filter Module with one less filter and extends service change interval to 100,000 miles and a new lower friction piston design optimized for even better fuel economy.

A number of transmissions will be available mated to the new DD15.

The Optional Automated Manual DT12Transmission is available as an option with the Cascadia Evolution. It combines a traditional clutch-actuated manual gearbox with a computer-controlled shift actuator and clutch. The best shift patterns are selected electronically to provide optimal power or fuel efficiency. The direct drive design improves durability, minimizing wear on drivetrain components. And it’s easier to operate, making it ideal for less experienced drivers. The Detroit AMT was developed to seamlessly interface with the newly designed DD15 engine, which further enhances performance and efficiency.

Features include the following:
  • Direct Drive -- The AMT is a 12-speed, non-synchronized transmission with shorter gear steps. It has one main shaft and one countershaft. In top gear the transmission operates as a direct drive, sending engine input directly to the main shaft, eliminating parasitic gear mesh losses of power and fuel efficiency.

  • Active Driveline Protection -- The Transmission Control Module (TCM) calculates the torque wind-up in the driveline and regulates with engine torque control for enhanced driving comfort and less driveline wear. The TCM even limits torque in severe surface conditions, protecting the driveline.

  • Powertrain Communication -- The powertrain communicates in real-time with the proprietary powertrain network and motor control module to optimize efficiency through the entire powertrain.

  • Skip Shift -- To increase shifting efficiency, the electronic powertrain controls automatically “skip” unnecessary gears. This helps increase acceleration to achieve cruising speed quickly and smoothly. This also allows the driver to begin the acceleration in the appropriate “start gear” based on load and grade.

  • eCoast -- To save even more fuel, the transmission is able to automatically disengage when the vehicle is coasting. Sophisticated transmission electronics ensure safe operations in all driving conditions.

  • The Detroit AMT also provides a weight advantage over traditional designs. The aluminum housing and single countershaft help save weight, allowing for even more payload efficiency.
According to Freightliner, the development of the newly designed Detroit DD15 engine, the DT12 transmission and a full line of Detroit axles, the Cascadia Evolution offers the performance, fuel economy and durability of an integrated powertrain. Updated DDEC engine electronics deliver improved engine control while meeting OBD requirements for 2013. Engine and transmission communicate via the common powertrain controller, reducing drivetrain stress and optimizing shift points. Axle ratios are as fast as 2.53 when paired with the DT12 transmission.

The 12,500 lb. front axle weight rating compensates for the added weight of EPA10 aftertreatment systems, allowing Freightliner to close the trailer gap. And the Virtual Technician onboard diagnostic system provides real-time diagnostics of fault codes, analyzed by the Detroit Customer Support Center. And Freightliner and Detroit Service Networks offer the expertise and convenience needed to operate a fleet effectively.

Aerodynamic improvements

Freightliner is driven to achieve optimal fuel efficiency by using Daimler Truck’s state-of-the-art full size wind tunnel. As a result, the Cascadia Evolution is equipped with the most advanced aerodynamic features to reduce drag and increase fuel economy the US trucking industry has ever seen.
  • Bumper Enclosure – A fully enclosed lower center grillwork reduced high velocity air from entering the engine bay reducing overall drag.

  • Windshield Seal improvements streamlines airflow around the windscreen and A-pillars.

  • Hood to Bumper Fill seals the hood to bumper opening to prevent high velocity air from entering under the hood from the wheel wells.

  • Elliptical shaped driver and passenger mirrors with single post mast have aero shaped profiles to minimize drag count.

  • Solid Rear Wheel Covers – reduce air turbulence resulting in smoother airflow in and around the wheels;

  • Side Extender Filler Piece prevents high speed air from entering the trailer gap.

  • Integrated Antennae replaces both the vertical antennae’s

  • Large 20 in. side extenders reduce tractor to trailer gap and directs air flow around the trailer more efficiently.

  • Chassis Side Fairing Enhancements seals the gap between both the entry steps and rear wheels and the cab and chassis.

  • Lower Bumper Air Dam reduces drag on the underbody components.

  • Cooling Enhancements including behind the grille guides to reduce recirculation and forces air only where it is needed.
While most of the aero, engine and transmission enhancements are commonplace within today’s most fuel efficient automobiles, reaching the big rigs is low hanging fruit that will pay dividends to the tractor-trailer owner/operators and reduce the fuel use on the order of super tankers when considering the entire US fleet.

Wheter the new DD15 and DT12 are up to the task of 1,000,000 moslty trouble free miles is still a question mark but I am sure just like today’s automobiles, they are more reliable than trucks pout out just a decade ago when emissions were just becoming a big deal. SCR makes a truck more reliable and far cleaner although it has an expense to it all its own.

All told, thanks Freightliner and I cannot wait to see the new Cascadia Evolution on the road.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:19 PM
herm herm is offline
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Re: Freightliner Evolution – What Tomorrows Big Rig Will Look Like

Very impressive.
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