Peterbilt unleashes most ‘game-changing’ truck to date

Feb. 3, 2021
The next-generation aerodynamics and technology of the new Model 579 were developed during five years of ‘relentless focus’ on increasing fuel economy, driver comfort and uptime.

Peterbilt Motors Co. kicked off a “new era of class” Wednesday with the launch of the thoroughly redesigned on-highway flagship, the new Model 579. Billed as the most technologically advanced truck the company has ever built, the new Model 579 is also the most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient Pete—boasting an impressive 7% improvement in fuel economy with the next-generation Paccar powertrain—to go along with substantial improvements in uptime and driver comfort. Company representatives revealed the newest Peterbilt in a live YouTube stream for dealers, customers, fans and trade media.

Because development of the new truck was a closely guarded project, Peterbilt worked with 50 select customers to understand their unique operations and needs, incorporating their input into the design of the new 579. Validation units already have accumulated 1.5 million real world miles and, combined with the durability testing done at the Paccar Technical Center, the new 579 is the most reliable truck ever designed by Peterbilt, according to the company.

“The launch of the new Model 579 is a huge moment for Peterbilt and our customers. This new product is the result of five years of relentless focus on increasing fuel economy, taking driver comfort to new heights, and maximizing uptime,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice president. “This new truck delivers the next level of performance for our customers and continues Peterbilt’s legacy of being the ‘Class’ of the industry.”

The Model 579 was originally introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2012.

Latest aero

To perfect the look and aerodynamic shape of the new 579, Peterbilt spent more than 1,000 hours of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis and over 7.8 million CPU processing hours evaluating the exterior design.

Key exterior features to the new 579 include a redesigned stronger Metton hood that is narrower and more resistant to damage. This is topped off with Peterbilt’s iconic aerodynamic “bird” ornament, a bright stainless steel grille, and improved halogen or optional LED headlights.

A new three-piece bumper integrates the forward radar cover for collision mitigation, with a larger aerodynamic air dam, and provides both protection against damage and lower replacement costs.

Improvements to the aero mirrors, fairings, side skirts and closeouts help improve the overall aerodynamic shape with the revised A-pillar vane redirecting airflow around the windshield reducing friction and helping deliver a 10% noise reduction in the cabin.

‘Game-changing’ tech

An all-new “clean and intuitive” digital dash is the centerpiece of the new Model 579’s technology upgrade, fully integrated with electrical and safety systems, including the Bendix Fusion advanced driver assistance system (ADAS).

The state-of-art 15-in. Peterbilt Digital Display features a fully customizable user interface (UI), delivering an almost endless combination of digital gauges on the main screen at any one time. Operators control the digital UI through one of three different Drive View Zones.

  • Minimized View eliminates everything but the speedometer and tachometer for minimal driver distraction.
  • Basic View represents traditional information found on analog dashes with Air & Oil Pressure, Fuel & DEF level and Water temperature all prominently displayed along with a speedometer and tachometer.
  • Enhanced View builds upon the previous views displaying the maximum number of gauges from a list of over 30 information sources.

The Peterbilt Digital Display allows operators to fine-tune the information to suit their individual needs through the controls found on the all-new smart steering wheel.

Prior to trip departure the Digital Display can run through a visual Systems Check, inspecting 13 systems and providing a green checkmark with each passed test. Post-trip, a detailed Trip Information screen provides a breakdown of important metrics of the most recent journey.

Incorporated within the Digital Display, the ADAS with integrated camera and radar technology enable advanced features including collision mitigation, overspeed alerts and the new lane keeping assist to be displayed prominently in the center of the screen. The Digital Vision System provides drivers vastly enhanced, camera-enabled vision around the truck at all times including at night and during inclement weather.

Also contributing to driver comfort, the new 579 comes with a 10% quieter cab and sleeper, additional storage and an improved Bluetooth microphone.

“The Class Leading Technologies found in the new Model 579 are game-changing,” Skoog said. “The clear and precise information relayed to drivers through the Peterbilt Digital Display, combined with the advanced safety systems found throughout the truck, provide a much higher level of awareness of the truck and its surroundings.”

The new Model 579 is now available for order in a day cab configuration, integral 80-in. UltraLoft sleeper and a variety of other sleeper sizes.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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