Mack39s direct drive mDRIVE is inherently more fuel efficient thanks to reduced parasitic losses explained Roy Horton Mack director of product strategy

Latest Mack innovations target fuel efficiency

March 23, 2017
LOUISVILLE. Emphasizing the brand’s “tradition of application excellence” and customer-focused innovation, Mack Trucks used its media slot at the 2017 Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday to highlight products aimed at improved fuel efficiency.

LOUISVILLE.  Emphasizing the brand’s “tradition of application excellence” and customer-focused innovation, Mack Trucks used its media slot at the 2017 Mid-America Trucking Show Thursday to highlight products aimed at improved fuel efficiency.

The Super Econodyne Direct is a new fuel-saving option that combines Mack’s Super Econodyne concept with a direct drive version of the Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission (AMT) to boost fuel efficiency by up to 1 percent. The result is up to 1 percent better fuel efficiency on top of the 3 percent Super Econodyne already delivered on its own, according to the company.

Despite a numerically higher top gear ratio, the direct drive mDRIVE is inherently more fuel efficient thanks to reduced parasitic losses, explained Roy Horton, Mack director of product strategy. This is due to the fact that torque is not transmitted to the direct drive mDRIVE’s countershaft while in top gear. Instead, the transmission’s input and output shafts are essentially locked together.

Super Econodyne Direct is best suited for applications of 80,000 lbs. GCW or less where drivers remain in top gear for a large percentage of time. It also works best on mostly flat terrain and when drivers remain mostly in constant speed.

Mack’s Super Econodyne rating fully integrates Mack MP engines and the Mack mDRIVE to deliver significant fuel savings. The integrated powertrain enables lower engine cruise RPM to save fuel, without impacting power or performance. Super Econodyne-rated Mack engines cruise at approximately 1,150 rpm, a reduction of 200-300 rpm from a typical highway cruise rpm.

Super Econodyne ratings are available with both the 11-liter Mack MP7 and 13-liter Mack MP8 engines.

Mack 6x2 Liftable Pusher Axle

In other news, Mack Trucks has rolled out Automatic Standby Mode, an innovation for its 6x2 liftable pusher axle available on Mack Pinnacle highway models.

The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle offers improved fuel efficiency and productivity benefits and is designed for applications that haul out heavy and return empty, such as bulk haul. The addition of Automatic Standby Mode eliminates the need for the driver to manually push buttons to initiate standby mode, simplifying operation.

Mack has also added rear air disc brakes as an option to it 6X2 liftable pusher offer.

“The Mack Pinnacle 6x2 with liftable pusher axle model really helps those customers in bulk haul applications save on fuel because sensors lift or lower the axle to decrease or increase traction, providing better performance and ride,” said Horton. “The addition of Automatic Standby Mode further simplifies things for the driver by eliminating any need for manual input in putting the truck in standby mode to prevent overload.”

When the ignition is off, Automatic Standby equalizes the suspension pressure, preventing the rear axle from being overloaded. The driver does not have to remember to initiate the standby mode and also does not need to remember the button sequence to put it in standby.

The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle monitors trailer weight and adjusts the truck’s driveline configuration to boost fuel efficiency without impacting performance. The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle is capable of determining payload by using sensors in the rear suspension and either lifting or lowering the foremost rear axle. When an empty load is detected, the axle lifts, allowing the tractor to operate as a 4x2 for less drag, better fuel efficiency and reduced tire wear, which helps lower maintenance costs. For full loads, the same axle is lowered to provide additional stability and distribution of the trailer’s weight.

Mack MP8 with Turbo Compounding

The company also announced that the 2017 Mack MP8 engine with turbo compounding is now available for order, offering highway customers increased fuel efficiency.

“The new MP8 engine with turbo compounding is just one of the many engine upgrades Mack made to further enhance fuel efficiency for customers,” said Horton. “The turbo compounding system enables an improved operating range and allows a truck to hold top gear when cresting a hill, even with the engine rpm decreasing.”

Available exclusively with Mack’s Super Econodyne downspeeding package, the MP8 with turbo compounding converts wasted energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy that is fed back to the engine. The system adds up to 50 additional horsepower, improving fuel efficiency by up to 8.8 percent. The additional power generated by the turbo compounding system allows the engine to maintain full torque as low as 900 rpm.

About the Author

Kevin Jones 1 | Editor

Kevin Jones has an odd fascination with the supply chain. As editor of American Trucker, he focuses on the critical role owner-ops and small fleets play in the economy, locally and globally. And he likes big trucks.

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