Mack Trucks gives us an overview of some of the latest developments in trucking technology.
Mack’s new mDRIVE HD 13-speed offers a low reduction gear ratio designed for easier startability on steep grades or when the truck is hauling a heavy load. The Mack mDRIVE HD 14-speed, available only in an overdrive configuration, adds a second ultra-low-speed reduction gear designed for curb pouring applications or low-speed, heavy-haul manoeuvring. Both transmissions offer up to four reverse gear ratios. Some of Mack’s new trucks have turbo compounding that converts wasted energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy that is fed back to the engine. The system adds up to 50 additional horsepower, improving fuel efficiency by up to 8.8 percent. The additional power generated by the turbo compounding system allows the engine to maintain full torque as low as 900 rpm. This enables a broader operating range in top gear and allows a truck to hold top gear longer when overtaking a hill, even with falling engine rpm.
Several of the technologies found on Mack’s 2017 MP series engines, including the patented wave piston, turbo compounding and the common rail fuel injection system, were derived from research and development work associated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program. The SuperTruck program, a cost-shared, public-private partnership, aims to help accelerate the research and development of advanced efficiency technologies to improve the freight-hauling efficiency of heavy-duty Class 8 long-haul tractor-trailer trucks. One of these technologies is the Mack near zero-emission drayage trucks demonstration project. Zero-emissions are possible due to the integration of a Mack MP7 clean diesel engine with a proprietary parallel hybrid system and lithium-ion battery pack. Additional lightweight and aerodynamic-enhancing components extend the benefits of the hybrid technology and maximize zero-emission range. When inside a zero-emission geo-fence (which includes locations with the heaviest freight traffic, such as a port) the truck operates in pure electric mode. When outside the zero-emission geo-fence – such as on the way to a rail yard or distribution centre – the clean diesel engine is enabled, allowing for hybrid operation and recharging of the batteries.
Mack Trucks is also working with Siemens to demonstrate a near-zero emission Class 8 drayage truck as part of the eHighway project sponsored by the SCAQMD. The project’s goal is to reduce air pollution at freight-intensive locations and will take place on a one-mile section of eHighway that Siemens installed near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – the two largest ports in the U.S. The eHighway infrastructure covers select lanes of a highway with a catenary system similar to those used to power trolley or streetcars. The Mack truck connects and disconnects to and from the catenary system at any speed for dynamic power supply, thanks to a current collector supplied by Siemens, allowing for near-zero emissions when operating on the eHighway corridor.
Mack Trucks also recently began a demonstration of its Mack Pinnacle model powered by Dimethyl Ether (DME), a non-toxic, clean-burning alternative fuel that offers many environmental and societal benefits. One of the most significant advantages of the fuel is that it produces no soot, eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF). DME can provide up to a 95 percent CO2 reduction compared with diesel when produced from biomass or biogas. DME also can be made from North America’s plentiful domestic natural gas supply, food waste, animal waste, grass clippings and other sustainable sources, offering the potential to help reduce dependency on foreign oil. Source