Walmart has developed a prototype tractor designed to increase airflow and cut fuel consumption, which could dramatically increase the efficiency of one of the largest commercial truck fleets in the world.
The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) is 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company’s current trucks and has a micro-turbine hybrid powertrain that can run on diesel, natural gas and biodiesel. The vehicle pulls the world’s first 53-foot carbon fiber trailer, saving close to 4,000 pounds that can then be used to carry more freight.
Inside the cabin, the driver sits in the middle and is surrounded by LCD displays. When the driver gets sleepy, he or she can rest in a sleek sleeper cabin in the back.
Walmart designed the vehicle in partnership with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine.
Trucking is an industry in need of major disruption, but don’t get too excited — the prototype might never make it to mass production.
“It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO.
Earlier this week Walmart informed dozens of product manufacturers throughout its supply chain that it is now implementing its new policy to phase out hazardous chemicals from its consumer products, announced late last year. The Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables provides a description of what it calls "priority chemicals" — substances with certain hazardous properties that can affect human health, and/or the environment.
In other vehicle innovation news, SAP AG and BMW Group Research and Technology announced last month they have co-developed a personalized technology infrastructure for in-vehicle mobility services as part of a joint innovation project. The prototype utilizes the SAP HANA® Cloud Platform and will provide personalized services to drivers based on their location and route. The collaboration was announced at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.