Every December, Fleet Equipment commemorates the trucking trend of the year. But with this year also bringing the decade to a close, we asked for opinions about what the trend of the decade has been.
It’s been a decade of innovation, of technological advancements that have made their way into the trucks on the road today, and some that are only beginning to show what they can do. Here are some of the trends our sources named.
Alternative fuels and fuel efficiency
“The EPA 2010 emissions standards clearly put fuel efficiency on our customers’ radars and when fuel prices started to rise, the discussion around alternative fuels such CNG and LNG grew,” says Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America. “When fuel prices came down again, the fuel efficiency trend continued, but was then more focused on the efficiency of the diesel engine. Lately, the discussion has been around electromobility, while still keeping fuel efficiency of the diesel engine on top of our customers’ minds. The next decade will for sure be the breakthrough when it comes to electric trucks.”
Automated and automatic transmissions
There has been a significant shift in transmission choice away from manual transmissions to automatic and automated transmissions, notes Roy Horton, Mack Trucks director of product strategy. For example, he goes on, “Mack introduced its mDrive AMT for highway models in 2010, and today we see mDrive penetration at 94% in our Mack Anthem models. We also introduced the mDrive HD, a heavy-duty version for vocational applications in 2015, and added creeper gear functionality to mDrive HD in 2016. Regardless of whether a customer is on the highway or on the job site, Mack’s mDrive AMTs are delivering improved driver productivity, less wear and tear on drivers, increased safety and fuel efficiency benefits, while also boosting driver attraction and retention.”
Advanced safety systems
“One of the most significant trends is the inclusion of collision mitigation in vehicles,” says Steve Gilligan, product marketing vice president for Navistar. “Fleet adoption has risen significantly in the last two years and is projected to continue. Since International began offering the feature, we have seen volumes increase exponentially. Data indicates that both accident frequency and severity is reduced from the use of collision mitigation systems. Vehicle safety is clearly a priority and it is improving dramatically because of this technology.”
“Another trend we’ve seen is the connected truck concept where we can now draw large amounts of data from our trucks in order to improve freight efficiency, fuel efficiency, performance and, very importantly, uptime for our customers,” Volvo’s Koeck says, highlighting Volvo’s Remote Diagnostics and Over-the-Air Update offerings, among others. “Connectivity is, of course, also an enabler for more digitalization in many different areas, and that journey has just started. We will be able to do things in the next decade we didn’t even think were possible five to 10 years ago. We have a very exciting decade to look forward to when it comes to an accelerated connectivity journey.”