Savannah, GA,
28
March
2014
|
07:42 AM
America/New_York

Well, maybe not, but this concept vehicle certainly addresses efficiency needs with futuristic concepts

Summary


Great Dane was selected by Walmart to work with the company—in conjunction with Peterbilt and Capstone

Turbine—to create a concept vehicle designed to maximize efficiency on the road.

Great Dane was selected by Walmart to work with the company—in conjunction with Peterbilt and Capstone
Turbine—to create a concept vehicle designed to maximize efficiency on the road. The concept vehicle,
called the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a one-of-a-kind prototype that offers a whole package of "firsts."

Over the last three and a half years, Great Dane manufacturing and engineers have worked closely with members of the project team. The end result is a highly sophisticated aerodynamic tractor/trailer combination with radical aesthetics, lightweight construction for fuel economy and the latest technology from component manufacturers.

For Great Dane and the industry, this was the first production of a single piece 53-ft. carbon fiber panel (used in sidewalls and roof). Carbon fiber is a material that is ten times stronger than steel and lighter than fiberglass. Carbon fibers can be wound on a spool like cotton thread, and like any thread it can be woven into a fabric of large sizes. For instance, carbon fabric weaves are oriented to oppose tensile stress in airplane wings, automobile air spoilers, golf clubs and today, tractor trailers. While the cost of the material is high, historically the price has been trending lower, therefore forward thinking manufacturers and customers are exploring the possibilities now.

This concept vehicle, called the
Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is
a one-of-a-kind prototype that offers a
whole package of "firsts."

The trailer's nose is "convex" or rounded like trailers of the 1930s to smooth airflow. It is clad with solid carbon fiber, which provides a weight savings of about 4,000 pounds. Great Dane partnered with Roush Engineering, a company from Detroit known for creating striking, yet functional designs for the auto industry, to build a one-off mold for the unique shape.

Fiber-Tech, a current Great Dane supplier, supplied the capability of manufacturing large composite panels. Fiber-Tech in conjunction with Milliken, who provided the panel's core product, created the side panels with a carbon fiber skin and a light-weight core that provided the correct strength while achieving the goal of keeping things light. This partnership pushed the envelope of trailer technology even further as the trailer has a unique solid 53-ft. one-piece floor to reduce weight without sacrificing strength and performance.

Finally, the marker, mid-turn, and clearance lamps are a new technology provided by Grote Industries. LightForm® sets a new benchmark in the future of FMVSS-compliant lighting. The LED emitters are mounted on thin polycarbonate strips and are capable of photometrics that meet and exceed DOT requirements with a current draw far less than traditional LED lighting. These advantages allow an extremely low profile light that can contribute to aerodynamics and damage resistance. In this project, LightForm® is especially beneficial in conforming to the contoured exterior surfaces with a stylish lighting product. While not all of the features on this trailer will actually go into production, over time those that do will likely be similar, or inspired by these features.

On Display at MATS
For those who are attending the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, the entire tractor-trailer combination will be on display in Great Dane's booth