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Driven by the desire to do more: The 2018 Freightliner New Cascadia

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The goal was a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency over what is now dubbed the “Classic” Cascadia Evolution. A lofty goal, considering the already impressive fuel economy offered by the Cascadia Evolution. Yet, when it came time for Freightliner to unveil the 2018 New Cascadia, 5% was in the rearview mirror and it had practically faded into the horizon.

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Eight percent. That’s how much more fuel the 2018 New Cascadia with a GHG17 DD15 integrated Detroit powertrain, saved compared to the Classic Cascadia Evolution with a GHG14 DD15 integrated Detroit powertrain, when Freightliner put the two offering’s best specs head-to-head in a six-day, cross-country road test from Detroit to Portland, Ore., covering 2,400 miles.

How did Freightliner do it? “We did not create this truck in a vacuum,” began Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. “We took customer feedback and dealer technician feedback; we looked forward to what technology will be available to us in five years. We asked ourselves if the industry will look different and if customers would need something different from this truck tomorrow than they do today. Then we put all those pieces together through an iterative process.”

The updated integrated Detroit powertrain is at the heart of the new Cascadia. It combines the downsped 400-HP, 1,750-lb./ft. of torque Detroit DD15 or Detroit DD13 engines with the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission, Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM4) and corresponding Detroit steer and rear tandem axles. The new Detroit rear axles feature lower sump volume, gear-set coating, friction reducing gear cutting and optional Axle Lubrication Management that reduces parasitic loss and improves fuel economy. Additionally, IPM4 uses a GPS-based system to anticipate upcoming road terrain to utilize fuel effectively.

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Improved driver satisfaction, as well as advanced connectivity offerings, were given just as much attention as the fuel economy solutions.

coverstory-freightliner“We want drivers to wake up excited to go to work every day,” Aufdemberg said “They live in the trucks every day. If they can feel comfortable, rested, healthier, and work better and feel safe while they do it, then they have a great job experience from day one.

“When it comes to ROI for fleets,” Aufdemberg continued, “we know they value their drivers; they want to be able to give them a great experience. It becomes our responsibility as an OEM to make sure that we make that possible.”

Step into the sleeper and you immediately feel the attention to detail—from the abundance of smart storage to the multitude of power outlets for keeping electronics powered and fully charged. The optional driver’s loft features a dinette/work table and seating with seat belts that can be folded down to allow for a murphy-style bed to swing down.

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In terms of connectivity, “the platform of the New Cascadia sets the baseline for where we can push this truck in the future,”Aufdemberg said. “When you look at the integration of the safety systems, the engine, the transmission, the axles and how they work within connectivity, data becomes key in how we can take this truck further.”

The New Cascadia sports Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service and introduces Detroit Connect Remote Updates, which enable over-the-air engine parameter programming and Detroit-initiated remote engine and other powertrain electronic controller firmware updates. Additionally, Detroit Connect Analytics provides users with on-demand, automated fuel efficiency and safety analysis and reports featuring insights from Detroit and DTNA engineers. The connectivity platform will be available at the start of production of the new Cascadia in January 2017. A five-year standard base package includes Virtual Technician, access to the new Detroit Connect portal, and, later in 2017, remote updates.

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