Wal-Mart unveiled a new prototype for a delivery truck it says will significantly reduce its delivery fleet’s emissions. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, is the company’s latest step towards that goal.
The truck’s lightweight construction, hybrid turbine drivetrain and advanced aerodynamics provide significant savings. Peterbilt, Capstone Turbine, and Great Dane Trailer developed the new design along with Walmart.
Designed To Shake Up The Industry
More than anything else, Wal-Mart will use the WAVE to shake up the way things are done in the trucking industry. “It may never actually make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said.
Walmart—whose fleet includes 6,500 trucks, 55,000 trailers and employs 7,000 drivers—announced in 2005 that it intended to double fleet efficiency by 2015. Fleet efficiency has increased by 84% since that announcement, according to the company—although no official fuel economy figures have been provided.
Here are the groundbreaking features found in the WAVE:
The WAVE’s svelte shape gives it a 20% reduction in aerodynamic drag over Walmart’s current fleet of Peterbilt trucks. The 20% reduction in drag equates to a 10% increase in fuel economy.
The WAVE’s revolutionary microturbine, developed by Capstone Turbine, is capable of running on natural gas and other fuels all the while producing virtually no emissions. The microturbine operates using air bearing technology and air cooling which allows the truck to forego the need for heavy lubrication and liquid cooling systems.
The WAVE’s advance hybrid drive system is programmed to find the most efficient balance between its turbine and electric drivetrains. The truck will select the most efficient mode automatically or via manual inputs from the driver.
The centerpiece of the WAVE’s tapered front end is its central seating position—which borrows its aesthetics from open-wheel racing. It affords the driver greater visibility. The futuristic cockpit also features fully customizable digital displays, a fold out bed and sliding driver’s door.
The WAVE’s trailer attachment, manufactured by Great Dane Trailers, incorporates several innovative design elements including the one-piece 53-foot long carbon fiber panels that make up the trailer’s roof and sidewalls. The trailer’s carbon fiber construction makes it more 4000 lbs. lighter than a conventional unit.
Take a look at the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience in action:
For more information, see Business Insider.