Daimler’s U.S. commercial vehicle subsidiary Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) presented last Wednesday the new heavy-duty truck Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, which will become available on the U.S. market next year.

The new Cascadia Evolution delivers up to an additional 7 percent improvement in fuel economy over his predecessor. Fuel savings of the Cascadia are primarily due to the new Detroit DD15 engine as well as the aerodynamic measures. The optimized aerodynamic features on the new Cascadia Evolution were developed using Daimler Trucks North America’s wind tunnel – the only full-scale wind tunnel for big trucks in North America. With new, standard features the Cascadia Evolution incorporates several frontal area updates designed to improve airflow and aerodynamics including a new air dam, bumper closure and a hood-to-bumper fill. The new Detroit Diesel DD15 engine, is a turbocharged inline six-cylinder common rail engine with 14.6 liters of displacement. It is equipped with BlueTec technology, which reduces emissions. The six-cylinder complied the EPA 10 emissions standard for the NAFTA region, which is comparable to Euro VI in Europe. The drive units are manufactured at DTNA’s engine plant in Redford, Michigan.

To demonstrate that the fuel economy of new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, is not simply a value on the paper, DTNA started the Evolution of Efficiency Tour. The tour launched on Thursday, May 17, 2012, from San Diego, Californiaand ended May 23 in Gastonia, North Carolina. The 2,400 mile (almost 4,000 km)route crossed the United States, traveling through a variety of terrains, averaging between 250 and 425 miles per day. During the test, the two heavy-duty semitrailer trucks – weighing approximately 34 tons or 76,000 lbs. each – traveled at an average speed of 62 mph (around 100 km/h). At the end of each day, fuel consumption was calculated by Automotive Testing and Development Services (ATDS), an independent, third-party auditor using high-accuracy fuel flow meters. At the end the new Cascadia Evolution achieved a fuel consumption of 9.31 miles per gallon.

A glimpse of the future demonstrated Daimler Trucks North America with a Freightliner Cascadia technology carrier. During a test drive with a technology carrier at the proving grounds in Uvalde, Texas, DTNA demonstrated that the fuel consumption of a heavy-duty semitrailer truck can be reduced even further through ideal airflow and additional technical fine-tuning. For the test drive, the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution was equipped with a Detroit DT12 automated transmission, low rolling-resistance wide-base tires, and a trailer specifically designed by DTNA with aerodynamic aspects in mind. There, the technically and aerodynamically optimized combination of a tractor and a trailer traveled the 8.5 mile (14 km) closed-course track for 1,000 miles nonstop at an average speed of 60 mph (97 km/h). The resulting fuel consumption was 10.67 miles per gallon, or approximately 22 liters per 100 km.

DTNA presented another impressive test result in the area of alternative drive systems. With the L.A. to D.C. on CNG Cross Country Tour, a natural gas-fueled Freightliner Cascadia completed for the first time a tour of approximately 2,700 miles, only interrupted by refueling stops every 350 to 500 miles. On the whole tour, the CNG truck only used public gas stations to refuel. With the L.A. to D.C. CNG Tour, Daimler Trucks has especially proven in the U.S., that environmentally friendly drive technologies, are a real alternative for every day use.

Pictures: Daimler AG