SPIED: New Freightliner Cascadia Gets SuperTruck-Like Improvements
The Daimler/Freightliner SuperTruck concept is an amazing piece of engineering, and luckily, its technologies will gradually trickle into production, as can be evidenced on the new Freightliner Cascadia on-highway Class 8 truck.
The new Cascadia, which was recently spied doing cold-weather hauling tests, will be somewhat smoother and more aerodynamic than its predecessor. A completely reshaped front end, with smaller headlights and a more swept-back profile to the fenders, helps guide air gently around the truck. Narrower panel gaps prevent moving air from getting stuck in the wheel wells, where it can cause lots of drag, while a revised front bumper with a center air inlet likely provides enough cooling without causing excessive resistance.
Speaking of cooling, the radiator grille’s profile is less like Freightliner’s current trucks and more like the SuperTruck concept. Could that mean that active grille shutters are on this new truck? That, combined with a faster rake for the windshield, would give the new Cascadia a smaller frontal area, helping with aero.
Wider fairings on the rear of the cab should help channel turbulence around the trailer. Additionally, the rear wheels have disc-type covers, smoothing the side surfaces of the truck and improving aerodynamics. Additional fairings in between and behind the twin rear axles will help curb turbulence caused by tires throwing air around as they rotate.
There’s no word what kind of powertrain will accompany the new Cascadia’s aero changes. The current model is available with four different engines from Detroit Diesel or Cummins (producing up to 600 hp), paired with a choice of manual, automated manual, and full automatic transmissions. The SuperTruck concept featured a downsized, downsped Detroit Diesel 10.7L engine combined with a hybrid-electric motor, so it’s possible a similar configuration could appear on the next Cascadia.