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Jordan Perch loves automotive innovation and that is his ultimate passion. He is managing the resourceful DMV.com and is an active contributor to numerous consumer and automotive blogs.

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Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

Posted April 11, 2014 9:29 AM by Jordan Perch

Walmart, the world's largest retailer has been working on various sustainability projects for a while now, which include using 100% renewable energy, trying to create zero waste, and committing to selling products that are not harmful to the environment. They have also been trying to cut transportation costs and use more eco-friendly trucks, in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Fuel expenses make up a huge portion of Walmart's operating costs, so the company is always looking for ways to make its truck fleet more fuel-efficient. These efforts have resulted in a new truck concept, that is nothing like conventional transport trucks.

They have joined forces with a few companies to develop the WAVE (Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experiment) concept. These include Peterbilt - the prominent truck manufacturing company, Capstone Turbine - manufacturer of gas turbines, and Great Dane Trailers, which builds high-quality trailers. The WAVE features a pretty innovative design (video) that is very unusual for a truck, with an extremely aerodynamic cabin, and a convex nose, which reduces drag drastically. The company claims that it's 20% more aerodynamic than other trucks that it's using currently.

The cabin design is not the only thing that provides the truck with great fuel efficiency. The truck's trailer is made entirely from carbon fiber, and it's 4,000 pounds lighter than a conventional trailer. It features two 53-foot long side panels, which according to Walmart, are the world's longest single-piece panels made of carbon fiber. This makes it possible for the truck to carry more freight, without having to burn more fuel. The cabin's interior is also quite extraordinary. First of all, you access it by sliding its door, which has a large window for better visibility. The driver's seat is positioned centrally, and the dashboard features LCD screens that have replaced the traditional instrument cluster. The intention to make a very narrow cabin is one of the reasons for the central position of the driver's seat. Finally, there is a sleeper cabin behind the driver's seat.

The WAVE is powered by battery-electric hybrid drivetrain, that consists of an electric motor and a microturbine, along with an internal combustion engine. It can run on various fuels, including natural gas, biodiesel, diesel, and other fuels that may be developed in the future, as Walmart claims. The hybrid powertrain is mounted under the cabin. While the company hasn't released any specific info on the truck's fuel economy, it's safe to say that it's far better than 6 mpg, which is what other trucks of similar size get. Even with a minimal improvement of Walmart trucks' fuel economy, the company would save a significant amount of money, considering that its fleet consists of nearly 7,000 trucks.

However, the WAVE is only a concept for now, and there is no indication as to whether it will ever go into production, with Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon himself stating: "It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches."

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#1

Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/11/2014 10:43 AM

Awesome.....but what about stability in high winds of the unloaded trailer?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/11/2014 10:59 AM

Well, that's a potential issue for them, if it goes in production. A green super glue maybe :)

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#3
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Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/11/2014 11:16 PM

4,000 lbs lighter, but still pretty heavy. Average is about 10,000 unloaded. There seems to be some aerodynamic mods there under the trailer. Reducing that three foot space can only help.

Although, we have all seen the conventional ones go over...pretty regularly.

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#4

Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/11/2014 11:29 PM

13.4 Mpg real world truck ...

http://www.airflowtruck.com/

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#5
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Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/12/2014 6:00 PM

Yea what's that tell you when a 80,000# 400 HP diesel semi can get 13+ MPG and a new 300 HP 8000# diesel pickup cant?

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#6
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Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/13/2014 3:14 AM

It's all about aerodynamics....steady speed over a long distance....stop and go,,,forget it....These big trucks should use electric for stop and go, then kick in the diesel at speed....

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#7
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Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/13/2014 7:25 AM

Buy used!!

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#9
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Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/20/2014 2:41 PM

It tells me this is another place the government has been legislating 'solutions' to problems they don't well understand, with experience they don't have.

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#8

Re: Walmart Is Testing an Unconventional Fuel-Efficient Hybrid Truck

04/13/2014 2:33 PM

As long as they don't have flat spots on the wheels like the shopping carts.

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