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Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the corpone-brotch-approved dept.
cartechboy writes "It's no secret that semi trucks use a lot of fuel. Moving that amount of mass along at highway speeds takes a lot of power. But Walmart might have just unveiled the semi truck of the future with its WAVE concept truck. This crazy looking semi features an aerodynamic cab and looks like no other truck on the road. The driver sits in the center of the cab and the steering wheel is flanked by LCD screens instead of conventional gauges. The WAVE concept is powered by a range-extended electric powertrain consisting of a Capstone micro-turbine and an electric motor. To reduce weight the entire truck including the trailer is made of carbon fiber. The 53-foot side panels on the trailer are said to be the first single pieces of carbon fiber that large ever produced. The result? A trailer that weighs around 4,000 pounds less than a conventional one. While Walmart says it has no plans to produce the WAVE concept, one has to wonder if this is a look at what semis of the future will be like."
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Walmart Unveils Turbine-Powered WAVE Concept Truck

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  • by sotweed (118223) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:25PM (#46391899)

    I don't understand how trucks, which require much more fuel, and more driver time per load, have
    so thoroughly replaced railroads for long hauls. Making trucks more efficient is a fine idea, but
    it's only nibbling at the edges. Why not go back to trains for medium to long distances?

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:37PM (#46392019) Homepage

    Railroads have to pay to maintain their tracks based on the wear their cargo trains do to them. Trucks, on the other hand, have the costs of maintaining the road spread onto passenger cars in a way that results in the trucks paying far less than their share of the costs. This results in billions of dollars per year effectively subsidizing truck transport.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2014 @07:49PM (#46392129)

    And then add the aero changes, which also reduces fuel consumption. Now..... you do realise a truck uses 50 litres of fuel per 100 kms, yes? And a truck usually can do 500,000 kms a year? Even 1% is 2500 litres. Across a fleet like Walmart? Seriously adds up per year. I suspect however the concept has a bigger number than 1% total fuel savings. Good aero on a truck can save up to 10% and that's 25,000 litres.

    And if you think it'll cost 4 million in CF IF it comes about, you really have no concept of return of efficency in production.

    Oh, and the service life of a truck and trailer are 10 - 15 years at least. The lifetime saving do indeed overcoem the initial cost.

  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday March 03, 2014 @08:02PM (#46392237)

    Because in the end a truck still needs to get the freight to and from the train. There aren't enough rail terminals to be feasible for this to work. You have the problem of rail yard congestion as trucks line up and wait for hours to pick up their trailer or freight.

    It sounds nice in theory but in the end its much simpler and economical to move smaller non bulk loads via truck.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.