Daimler Truck North America is presenting a truck concept study that is supposed to impress with its efficiency. However, the drive of the Freightliner Super Truck II seems archaic.
Its colorful coloring indicates that the Super Truck II is a special representative of its kind. In addition, the truck concept study hardly differs visually from the well-known trucks of the semi category from Freightliner. In fact, the designers of the brand, which belongs to Daimler's truck division, took the well-known Cascadia model as a model and primarily optimized its aerodynamics. But the Super Truck II also features innovations in terms of technology.
While the Cascadia's cabin structure has been preserved, Freightliner has redesigned its surroundings. The bonnet has been redesigned, as have the bumper and chassis trim. In order to reduce air turbulence, the radiator grille, windshield, doors and air intakes are integrated into the body as seamlessly as possible. The active side extensions and the roof spoiler reduce the distance to the trailer in order to calm the air flow in this area. The trailer itself is also extensively clad below and features a three-sided rear spoiler.
Active chassis and camera mirror
To ensure that the truck itself is as streamlined as possible, Freightliner has minimized the ground clearance; it also adapts itself dynamically to the surface while driving at motorway speeds. On top of that, a camera system replaces the exterior mirrors, as we have known for several years on the Mercedes Actros, which is very common in Europe. In combination, all aerodynamic measures should lead to a drag reduction of more than twelve percent compared to the Super Truck I from 2015.
And what kind of engine drives the truck of the future? Freightliner continues to swear by the diesel principle and has given the Super Truck II a diesel engine from Detroit Diesel with a displacement of 13 liters, double turbocharging, optimized cooling and more efficient compression. The power is distributed by a 13-speed gearbox with an overdrive design. Daimler Truck speaks of the "most efficient powertrain that Freightliner has ever integrated into a truck". Measured against the Super Truck I, the fuel consumption of the engine-transmission unit is said to have fallen by 5.7 percent.
High-tech tires and 48-volt on-board system
The fact that the concept truck automatically switches from 6x4 to 6x2 drive at highway speeds, i.e. one driven axle is switched off, helps here. This should not only save driving power, but also help to protect the specially developed Michelin tires. Thanks to new rubber compounds and improved treads, these should have particularly low rolling resistance and low wear from the outset.
As a small electrical supplement, there is a 48-volt on-board system including a lithium-ion battery of unknown size. The energy storage should provide enough power so that the Super Truck II is capable of sailing and the air conditioning and power steering can be operated by it.
The Freightliner Super Truck II was created with the financial support of the US Department of Energy and should not have a direct series counterpart. Individual innovations of the heavy study truck are likely to return in future models of the Daimler truck brand.
With the Super Truck II, Freightliner presents a truck concept study that relies on a powerful diesel engine and optimized aerodynamics. During development, it was important to the engineers and designers of the brand, which belongs to Daimler Trucks, to maximize the efficiency of the truck in the heavy semi-category by using technologies that are already available or at least close to series production. Consequently, we should soon see some of them in the Freightliner series models.