Heavy-duty: 2023 HDAW event theme is ‘Shift. Adapt. Grow.’
Freightliner introduced the new Plus Series–enhanced versions of its M2 and SD models, including the M2 106 Plus, M2 112 Plus, 108SD Plus, and 114SD Plus. The enhanced models provide a major update to the interior and electrical systems of the M2 and SD models. The OEM noted that the Plus Series is designed to take Freightliner’s medium-duty and vocational lineup to the next level with improved driver comfort and increased productivity potential.
Let’s take a look at the updates.
The Plus Series trucks now feature an all-new interior designed that aims to provide a more comfortable, safer driving experience with improved ergonomics and increased storage, the OEM noted during a pre-launch press event. Enhancements include:
• All-new trim levels with improved insulation that muffles exterior noise and provides greater thermal efficiency.
• Driver-centric dash with a driver information center.
• A fully customizable switch layout.
• Wteering wheel with integrated controls.
• An easy-to-use transmission control stalk that allows automated manual and automatic shifting and engine braking functions from the column.
• Configurable dash panel featuring two-and-a-half more space for truck equipment manufacturers to utilize.
• Ergonomic seats with precise adjustability.
Detroit Assurance safety systems
For the first time, Detroit assurance safety and connectivity systems are now available across Freightliner’s entire vocational and medium-duty truck lineup. With its new electrical architecture, Plus Series trucks give customers access to the Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of safety systems. In addition to being available with all Detroit engine models, customers will for the first time be able to order certain Detroit Assurance features when spec’ing a Cummins engine–a first in any Freightliner product segment.
Standard selected safety features including Active Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and optional Side Guard Assist allow for increased safety on the road or jobsite. Additional features like Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically adjusts cruising speed to maintain a safe following distance, will become available with Plus Series start of production in Q3 2023.
Active Brake Assist demo
Once again, we were in the passenger hot seat during a demo of the Detroit Active Brake Assist–the feature that employs automatic braking if it detects a potential collision (even with the driver’s foot firmly on the accelerator). Check out the video:
On a personal note, even though it’s a controlled environment with a dummy vehicle and I’ve done this type of demo more times than I can remember, it still gets your heart racing. Yet the Detroit Assurance 5.0 emergency braking felt smoother than previous iterations. It’s definitely still a stomach churning emergency braking event, but it didn’t feel as abrupt as the last time I was in the hot seat.
Outfitted with the Detroit Connect Suite of Connectivity Systems, Plus Series fleets will receive
key information about vehicle performance. For example:
• Within minutes of a fault event, Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service informs fleets of the severity of the fault, and when, where and how to best fix the issue.
• Remote Updates uses secure, over-the-air programming capabilities to make engine parameter and other updates.
• Detroit Connect Analytics provide users with on-demand, automated analysis, identifying behaviors and trends, and providing actionable insights on fuel consumption and safety performance data.
• Safety Event Viewer enables visibility into driver safety performance, notifying fleets of collision mitigation events. It will show the time, date and location of an event, plus the vehicle speed at the time of the event and duration of the event. This record keeping allows Detroit Connect users to monitor and track all critical events and take action to increase the safety of trucks on the road and job site (standard with Detroit Assurance with Active Brake Assist 5).
The 114SD Plus features the latest in Detroit’s heavy-duty engine lineup, the DD13 Gen 5. It also offers new vocational power ratings with a rapid torque feature. Additionally, ThermoCoasting in the DD13 Gen 5 prevents aftertreatment cool down during a driving regen to keep the system at its optimum temperature and significantly reduces the need for parked regens, Freightliner explained.
The Detroit DT12-V transmission Off-Road Mode features aggressive shifting for sustained momentum and ultimate performance on any terrain; Hill Start Aid to guard against rolling back on steep grades; and Rock-Free Mode to reduce downtime caused by wheel-stuck situations. Paver Mode allows a dump truck to shift from neutral to drive without pressing the brake pedal, ensuring a steady flow to the paving machine.
Depending on truck model, the Plus Series lineup will also feature the Cummins B6.7, L9 and
X12 diesel engine options, as well as L9N and ISX12N natural gas-powered engines. Eaton
manual and automated manual transmissions, and Allison automatic transmissions are also
available in Plus Series trucks.
The Plus Series QuickFit Electrical System features a new multiplexed architecture that provides easier access to critical connection points, more power sources, programmable switches, customizable parameters, and interlock features, making upfits more flexible, more reliable, and more durable, Freightliner noted.
The Daimler Truck North America CHEC Tool provides an interface to view and modify electrical configurations and change parameters in minutes. With the introduction of the Plus Series trucks, key electrical components were also relocated to provide improved isolation from external variables and road debris that can cause downtime.
Plus Series rolls out
Production of the Plus series will begin Q3 2023 at the DTNA Mount Holly, N.C., and Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico, Truck Manufacturing Plants.