Mack Emphasizes Fuel Economy with Pinnacle Announcements

March 2011, - Feature

by Tom Berg, Senior Editor, Senior Contributing Editor - Also by this author

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LOUISVILLE, KY -- Mack emphasized fuel economy for its Pinnacle highway tractors -- saying it's possible to achieve fuel savings of 12.5 percent -- at the Mid-America Trucking Show, showing refined roof and chassis fairings, along with additional Econodyne ratings for its Mack Power engines and upscale interior trim.
New longer side skirts for Pinnacle tractors weigh less and are lower priced than previous side fairings.
New longer side skirts for Pinnacle tractors weigh less and are lower priced than previous side fairings.

The roof fairings are for the 70-inch high-rise, 70-inch mid-rise and 60-inch mid-rise sleepers, while the stronger, lighter, and longer chassis fairings, which cover up to a 140-gallon fuel tank, cost considerably less than the previous option, according to Jerry Warmkessel, Mack's highway marketing manager.

Customers ordering Pinnacle model sleepers with improved aerodynamics can expect up to a 6 percent fuel efficiency improvement, he said.

"The new roof fairings are optimized for the lowest possible coefficient of drag and a much smoother transfer of air from the truck to the trailer," he said. "The design of the new chassis fairings is simpler and more aerodynamic. The fuel efficiency improvements achievable with these optimized aero aids and the proven performance of our MP engines with ClearTech SCR positions the Mack Pinnacle among the best in highway fuel efficiency."

Four new Econodyne ratings are the MP7-405E, MP8-415E, MP8-445E, MP8-505E. Through an enhanced fuel mapping strategy, Mack's EconoBoost intelligent torque management system offers an extra 200 pounds-feet of torque if drivers stay in upper gears and let the engines lug to low rpm.

"We found that drivers can significantly increase fuel efficiency by remaining in the top gear as much as possible," said David McKenna, director of powertrain sales and marketing. "EconoBoost initiates at 1,300 rpm, providing additional power that allows drivers to remain longer in the top two gears. The engine torque reverts back to the lower profile when the engine senses situations with zero torque input, such as cresting a hill."

Compared to current specifications, it's possible to achieve fuel savings of 12.5 percent by using a new roof fairings and side skirts, choosing one of the new Econodyne engine ratings, and spec'ing Mack's mDrive automated mechanical transmission, McKenna said.

Further enhancements to the Mack Pinnacle series include an optional one-piece windshield, and an updated Grand Touring trim package with button-tuck vinyl and ultraleather seats that provides drivers comfort and a welcoming environment, at no extra charge over the previous trim offering.

"We will be doubling our market share in highway tractors" with the Pinnacle enhancements, Warmkessel declared. "I'm sure of it."

Mack plans to use the natural gas-fired Cummins ISL-G, but otherwise has no current plans for further use of Cummins engines, either smaller like the ISC8.3 or larger like the ISX15, McKenna said. That's partly because "it is very expensive to certify an engine in a truck."

Also, Mack's 13-liter MP 8 provides enough power for most highway applications while the 16-liter MP 10 has high power and torque for high gross weights and heavy haul use, he said. And through its parent, Volvo AB in Sweden, Mack has access to midrange diesels if customers express interest in lighter power.

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