2012 Mid America Trucking Show

All-Around Efficiency is the Name of the Game For Big Rigs

Mike McGlothlinAug 1, 2012
Eighty thousand people can’t be wrong. That’s the collective number of attendees at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show held in Louisville, Kentucky. For 2012, the world’s largest commercial truck tradeshow included 1,070 exhibitors, representing 47 states and 8 different countries. The three-day event allowed fleet owners, industry professionals, and truck drivers to meet, greet, and connect with both aftermarket up-fitters and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Photo 2/8   |   Freightliner’s Revolution Innovation concept truck is a key example of a Class 8 manufacturer attempting to maximize overall efficiency with better aerodynamics and weight savings. Freightliner partnered with Toray Carbon Fibers America for the build, resulting in an ultra-lightweight, carbon-fiber exterior. The Revolution’s hood, sidewalls, back wall, and roof cap mark the first time carbon fiber has ever been seen on a Class 8 truck. In addition to carbon fiber’s favorable strength-to-weight ratio, the components used allow for increased interior space. With features like a retractable bunk bed, pull-down storage, back access door, and no passenger-side door, this type of crossover day-cab targets solo, long-haul drivers.
Squeezing MPG
With high fuel prices gnawing away at profits, it’s no surprise that fuel efficiency was one of the major themes this year. Many OEs revealed new, innovative plans to reduce fuel consumption, such as better aerodynamics, reduced engine speeds while cruising, lower rolling resistance, and ways to cut weight. All-around efficiency is paramount going forward, as the cost of the everyday necessities we need are directly impacted by the price of diesel.
The In-House Approach
Stemming from the need to improve efficiency, several Class 8 truck manufacturers are moving toward vertical integration, where the powertrain is designed, tested, and manufactured in-house. Why are select OEs choosing to do this? Because 100 percent integration offers complete control over the powertrain—no third-party engine, transmission, or axle suppliers. To be sure, names like Cummins and Eaton won’t become strangers to the Class 8 industry (in fact, if anything, they will strive to make their products better than ever before), but some manufacturers believe powertrain optimization can only be realized if everything is done in-house. Read on for our breaking news.

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