Walmart unveils futuristic concept truck

US retail giant Walmart has unveiled a futuristic concept truck that has caused a stir in the North American truck and trailer community.

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) is said to be 20 per cent more aerodynamic than any current truck/trailer combination in the vast Walmart fleet, which consists of more than 6,500 pieces of equipment.

“The key to continued improvement is through technology. We need to use the most efficient equipment available – and we need to pursue and test the technologies of tomorrow. That’s why we’ve been working with our suppliers to pilot new and emerging technologies for about 20 years,” the company’s Elizabeth Fretheim wrote on the Walmart blog.

“The latest example of this is our new Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck, which is the result of collaboration between many vendor partners, including Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. The truck combines aerodynamic, mictroturbine-hybrid powertrain, electrification, and advanced control systems all in one vehicle.”

According to Fretheim, the trailer is made almost exclusively of carbon fibre, saving almost 4,000 pounds (1.8 tonnes) on tare weight. It is equipped with a convex nose that not only adds to aerodynamic performance, but also increases storage space on the inside.

“Our US trucks log millions of miles every year, delivering products to our more than 4,800 locations across the country. So when it comes to sustainability and fleet efficiency, the goal is simple: deliver more while driving fewer miles,” she said.

“This goal is the driving principle behind our commitment to double fleet efficiency by 2015 (compared to 2005). We’re already 80 per cent of the way there. Since 2007, we’ve delivered 658 million more cases while driving 298 million fewer miles.”

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