from the Welcome-to-the-Rig-of-Tomorrow dept.
Papas Fritas writes:
"Heavy-duty trucks spend more time on the road than passenger vehicles, so improving their fuel efficiency of 5 or 6 mpg can have a major effect on emissions--and their owners' bottom lines. Now Stephen Edelstein reports that Walmart has unveiled the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE), designed for optimum aerodynamic efficiency featuring a convex nose to reduce aerodynamic drag and constructed of carbon-fiber reducing its weight by 4,000 pounds allowing the truck to carry more freight without the need for increased power or fuel consumption. The design was achieved in part by placing the driver in the center of the cab (video). The steering wheel is flanked by LCD screens--in place of conventional gauges--and there is a sleeping compartment directly behind the driver's pod.
The WAVE is powered by a Capstone Turbine engine coupled to an electrical powertrain. Capstone Turbines is a California based gas turbine manufacturer that specializes in microturbine power along with heating and cooling cogeneration systems. Key to the Capstone design is its use of foil bearings, which provides maintenance and fluid-free operation for the lifetime of the turbine and reduces the system to a single moving part which also eliminates the need for any cooling or other secondary systems. With over 7000 trucks, Walmart's fleet of vehicles provides a large opportunity to increase fuel efficiency across the board and set an example for the rest of the big box stores. They'll also be necessary in the near future: President Barack Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draft a new set of fuel-economy rules for medium and heavy-duty trucks."