The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Carbon War Room issued an update to its Confidence Report on 6×2 axles. NACFE convened a new study team of experts to investigate a technology on which it has already issued a Confidence Report, which NACFE says is due to refinements in the way fleets are implementing 6×2 axles and the accompanying technologies that are being used alongside 6x2s.
“While we found that the fuel savings benefits as well as the challenges from the original report are largely still true, new product refinements are coming to the market that are aimed at addressing some of the concerns fleets had about 6×2 axles,” says Yunsu Park, NACFE’s study team manager. “For instance, fleets dedicated to 6x2s are improving tire wear by changing the tire models they use and limiting the torque when launching the truck. Also, driver training is a significant part of a successful 6×2 implementation.”
The study team identified three generations of 6×2 products, focusing special attention on Generation III products, which contain liftable pusher axles, automatic load-sensing/load shifting, and traction control.
The original study published in 2003 concluded that adoption of 6×2 axles would double every year. This has not happened, in large part because the challenges and consequences of switching to 6×2 were greater than the original study team anticipated. In addition, lower diesel prices have stretched out the payback period.
The new report concludes that 6x2s still play a key role in improving freight efficiency, but the benefits are not as obvious as they previously were. However, manufacturers are continuing to work on improving their offerings, and fleets that have invested in 6x2s continue to do so.
“Those fleets dedicated to 6x2s and exploiting the various opportunities are finding they return their investment,” concludes Mike Roeth, Trucking Efficiency operation lead.