LOUISVILLE, KY. If conditions are right, truck sales in 2010 could rebound as much as 20%, and Mack Trucks is getting ready to compete in that recovering market with new technology and products that include an all-new Econodyne diesel engine and an automated mechanical transmission, according to Kevin Flaherty, sr. vp for the U.S. and Canada. “We’re seeing some bubbling of activity out there right now, and we could have a shot at 20% plus, but only if we continue to see more positive signs of recovery,” he said at a press conference during the Mid America Trucking Show.
With its 2010 emissions technology ready and EPA certified since last October, Mack has begun refining its proprietary engine offers by introducing a new generation of its historic Econodyne family of on-highway diesels. At Mack, the Econondyne has been as much a philosophy as it is an engine model, intended to provide over-the-road fleets with optimized fuel economy through careful control of operating characteristics, and the newest generation continues to pursue that goal.
Offered in the Mack MP7 and MP8 engine series for on-highway Pinnacle models, the new Econodyne features an intelligent torque management system called EconoBoost that offers drivers additional muscle only when they need it, according to David McKenna, director of powertrain sales and marketing. The 505-hp rating, for example, provides 1,560 lbs.-ft. of torque under cruising conditions, but can provide an additional 200 lbs.-ft. of torque if the engine is under full load and it senses it’s required.
“EconoBoost is power with a purpose, always there when needed, so the driver has the confidence to remain in the highest, most fuel-efficient gear while under full load, instead of losing speed and downshifting,” McKenna said. The extra power is also delivered smoothly, reducing driveline stress and making it easier for drivers to control, he added.
The new mDrive automated mechanical transmission is based on a model developed by Mack’s parent, the Volvo Group, and adapted for its proprietary drivetrain. Offered on the Pinnacle with Mack MP7 and MP8 engines, the 2-pedal automated gearbox not only improves driveability and driver satisfaction, but should also deliver up to a 1.5% improvement in fuel economy compared to a fully automated version, McKenna said.
The mDrive will be available in two 12-sp. versions (8-forward speeds, 4-reverse), one an overdrive and the other a direct drive. Drivers will control the transmission through a dash-mounted pad, and can be directed to shift for either economy or performance. Among the many features of its electronic control is the MackCellerator, which drops the transmission one gear to maximize acceleration in passing conditions, and the Grade Gripper, a hill assist feature tied into the ABS system that keeps the truck from rolling backwards when starting on a grade. It can also start the truck in a higher gear if conditions warrant, according to Mack, and has low-speed modulation to help control vehicle speed when maneuvering in tight quarters.
Because it automates a standard mechanical transmission, the mDrive is relatively light, weighing in at 615 lbs. dry, McKenna said. Maximum torque capacity is 1,920 lbs. ft.
Mack also introduced an all-new family of rear axle carriers. The C150/151 is lighter, stronger and stiffer than the previous model, according to McKenna. It retains Mack’s traditional top-load, dual-reduction design, and comes with a power divider as standard. Available ratios range from 3.11 down to 5.66, and it is compatible with all suspensions offered by Mack.