2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Attention, Walmart shoppers: We've created a futuristic transport truck

By

March 4, 2014

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, on the road

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, on the road

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According to a report in Truck News, Walmart plans on doubling the fuel efficiency of its trucking fleet by next year. In order to show that it's not kidding around, the retailer has collaborated with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine to create a concept "truck of tomorrow" known as the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience – or WAVE.

The vehicle features what Walmart describes as a "prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain (or microturbine-hybrid powertrain) combined with an electric motor and battery storage system." It can reportedly run on diesel, natural gas, biodiesel "and probably other fuels still to be developed."

Additionally, it is said to be 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company's existing trucks.

The aerodynamic cab of the tractor unit features a sliding door, a center-mounted driver's...

The cab of the tractor unit features a sliding door, a center-mounted driver's seat, an all-LCD dash that can be customized to suit the driver's preferences, and a full-sized sleeper.

The trailer is reportedly the first one to ever be built completely of carbon fiber, and also incorporates the first 53-foot-long (16 m) one-piece carbon fiber panels ever made. The use of that material results in claimed weight savings of approximately 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) over a conventional trailer. Both its aerodynamics and its cargo capacity are boosted by a convex nose that sits flush the concave backside of the tractor.

So, will we ever see one of the things on the highway? In a recent statement, Walmart President Doug McMillon wrote, "It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches."

If you like freaky-looking high-concept transport trucks, however, be sure to also check out the German Innotruck – which actually looks a bit like WAVE.

More information on the Walmart truck is available in the video below.

Source: Walmart via Truck News, Green Car Reports

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
19 Comments

Looks like it was designed by these guys...http://www.gizmag.com/marchi-mobile-elemment-luxury-camper/20180/

Joseph Boe
4th March, 2014 @ 02:06 pm PST

"Both its [the trailer] aerodynamics and its cargo capacity are boosted by a convex nose that sits flush [with] the concave backside of the tractor."

Doesn't look flush to me. The curve of the convex front may match the concave fairing on the back of the cab, but there appears to be at least a foot, probably more, between the two.

Facebook User
4th March, 2014 @ 03:37 pm PST

From an Aerodynamic point this is good

You don't have to waste money cutting weight. It is preferable to have a heavy head for stability in high cross winds.

Also a truck is an ideal platform for a serial diesel electric like a loco. Fill the base with batteries for stability and capacity.

Nairda
4th March, 2014 @ 04:05 pm PST

It makes sense to use electric motors in vehicles for the logistics industry because electric motors have high torque which is better suited for moving weight. Not to mention the reduced amount of energy loss in comparison to combustion engines.

Clinton Wong
4th March, 2014 @ 06:02 pm PST

Yeah I was going to say it looks Luigi Colani inspired.

Steve Dahlheimer
4th March, 2014 @ 06:51 pm PST

Wow...I wonder if I might be able to see one on the highway?

thatBeatsguy
4th March, 2014 @ 08:02 pm PST

Is anyone else thinking 'condorman'

Rob.
5th March, 2014 @ 03:07 am PST

Now all they have to do is make it nuclear powered.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/49/Big_Bus_Cyclops_1.jpg

Gadgeteer
5th March, 2014 @ 05:03 am PST

It's great to see more implementation of the microturbine-hybrid powertrain concept. This has a bunch of advantages over an ICE (piston-driven) hybrid type, and I'm frankly surprised it hasn't really taken off in the automotive or "logistics" (trucking) industries. Multiple fuels capable, minimal moving parts, very high MTBF, lightweight (for the engine side, anyway), and great marketing possibilities (e.g. "Yeah, mine's powered by a turbine engine! Dude!") So, what's the holdup?

MzunguMkubwa
5th March, 2014 @ 05:42 am PST

weight and fuel savings vs cost of 53 foot carbon fiber panel, aeroshell, etc. where are the trade results?

Dekarate
5th March, 2014 @ 06:30 am PST

Donald: The trailer does not have to fit tightly to the rear of the cab to be aerodynamically smooth. The design intent here is to have a smooth consistent flow that does not induce drag.

Also, yes, this design does look some other ideas I have seen. Given that Walmart is driving this they undoubtedly insisted on something copying someone else's work while evading attribution and compensation.

StWils
5th March, 2014 @ 08:39 am PST

Would be interesting to perhaps see a calculation to determine what fuel savings you need to make if you say double or triple etc the initial cost of the truck. I guess there are mileage figures that are used for truck replacements or annual average figures for mileage.

I guess all of those nice aerodynamics may be lost when a safety review is done and we then need to add in all the safety features such as antiscooping - looksike in an impact that front could just act as a ramp for things it hits.

Still love the design and the concept

myale
5th March, 2014 @ 09:11 am PST

What they didn't say was that they are also working on the trucks to be self driven so Wal Mart will no longer have to pay for truck drivers.

Nelson Hyde Chick
5th March, 2014 @ 01:40 pm PST

If anyone in the US will make this happen, I can see Wal-Mart being the one. They have pushed RFID in shipping, shelf tagging, tightly coupled data integration with suppliers, etc.

Rann Xeroxx
5th March, 2014 @ 01:47 pm PST

Love to drive the first one just to see the reaction on peoples - other drivers - faces.

Neil Larkins
8th March, 2014 @ 08:04 am PST

Well, Mr. StWils, you clearly missed the quote opening my post.

Facebook User
9th March, 2014 @ 07:39 pm PDT

It's just walmart advertising that they "care"

" In a recent statement, Walmart President Doug McMillon wrote, "It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches."

Andrew Zuckerman
10th March, 2014 @ 03:57 pm PDT

The trend will be toward driverless trucks. Do the math... there are 3 million truck drivers in the USA making between 22K and 55K per year. If you replaced 10% of the drivers making $22k you'd have $6.6B available for making trucks. PER YEAR. A driverless truck can last longer, can replace more than one driver, can have a better safety and on-time record, get better mileage & less maintenance, operate all night, doesn't require food & hotel, requires less insurance, cheaper deadheading, costs much less than a truck designed for a human.. it starts to add up in a hurry.

I don't like it but the writing is on the Wall

Tom Goddu
14th March, 2014 @ 09:02 am PDT

20 or 30 yrs from now, freight will be moved interstate by pure electric drones, smaller vehicles, constant duty linear generators, small battery packs. freight pallets will float on air, supplied by automated tugs, following embedded tracking , like today,s auto assy plants

Len Simpson
11th June, 2014 @ 05:55 pm PDT
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