Fuel Smarts

Integrated Powertrain Debuts from Detroit

May 22, 2014 - Equipment

By Denise Rondini

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<p>Freightliner Cascadia Evolution featuring new integrated Detroit powertrain. Graphic: DTNA</p>

Detroit Diesel

DETROIT -- Detroit Diesel introduced its new Integrated Detroit Powertrain on Thursday at an event in Detroit. The powertrain package brings together the company’s DD15 engine, DT12 transmission and Detroit axles.

“The engine, transmission and axles are all designed to work together. We are the only OEM who designs, engineers and manufacturers a completely integrated powertrain at this level of sophistication,” said David Hames, general manager, marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America “We’ve optimized the drivetrain to create fuel efficiency for our customers.”

According to Hames prior to the introduction of the integrated package the company was able to optimize each component individually, but was not able to optimize the whole system.

The package will be available only on the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution until some time next year, when it will also become available on the Western Star 5700. Hames said with the Integrated Detroit Powertrain the company expects another 5% to 7% fuel economy improvement over the existing Cascadia Evolution.

In coming up with the package, Daimler said it looked at the real cost of ownership and worked to optimize the powertrain for its customers.

As part of the package, the DD15 engine has a new downsped rating of 400 horsepower and 1750 pounds feet of torque. This is Detroit’s first venture into downspeeding.

“Downspeeding improves fuel economy by shifting usable power and torque to a lower RPM range,” said Brad Williamson, manager, engine and component marketing for Daimler Trucks North America.

The engine also has a six-blade fan, which is said to reduce power draw without sacrificing cooling.

The DT12 transmission communicates on an integrated electronic network to share information such as clutch overloading. The Intelligent Power Management features terrain maps and GPS to know the route ahead and adjust transmission and engine functions accordingly. ECoast, a technology specific to the DT12, allows the engine to operate at an idle of 500 rpm when road and driver inputs don’t require engine power to move the truck down the road.

In addition to a 6x4 axle configuration with a 2.41 ratio, the company is also offering a 6x2 axle configuration with a 2.28 ratio that boasts a nearly 400 pound weight reduction. The 6x2 axle was designed to integrate with the downsped engine.

“We think there will be higher acceptance of the 6x2 axles because customers are understanding more about their fuel economy benefits and the challenges they present are going away,” Hames said.

He added that Daimler has a goal of lowering fuel economy by 5% every two years, “We are not done yet, there is more to come from us this year.”

Such integration can be difficult especially when it involves other suppliers, said Hames. The fact that all the components of the Integrated Detroit Powertrain were developed by Detroit, means that in addition to engineering and manufacturing processes being shared, the package is supported by a complete network of service locations employing factory trained technicians.

“We talked to customers and the mention words like integration and uptime, warranty and parts and service. We want to offer them total solutions,” he said.

In conjunction with the launch of the Integrated Detroit Powertrain, a new Demand Detroit app will be available in June for both iOS and Android devices. It will contain all the information about the product including specs and a product brochure, that Williamson described as “our first customer-facing app.”

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