Freightliner is upgrading and rebranding its medium-duty M2 and vocational SD models. More than 20 years have passed since the M2's introduction, while a little more than a decade has gone by since the SD made its debut. Both have seen incremental improvements over the years, but this announcement represents a significant step forward in materials, features, and technology for the two platforms.
The enhanced versions of the M2 and SD models are collectively called the Plus series, including the M2 106 Plus, M2 112 Plus, 108SD Plus, and 114SD Plus. The Plus series is designed to take Freightliner’s medium-duty and vocational lineup to the next level with improved driver comfort and increased productivity potential.
Enhancements include the full suite of Detroit Assurance 5.0 active and passive safety features along with the enhanced connectivity of Detroit Connect. The DD13 Gen will power the 114SD. And for the first time, a lineup of Cummins engines will be offered in some models along with most Detroit Assurance safety features.
Both models get all-new interiors, with better seating, more attractive and functional interior fabrics and materials, and upgraded dash boards and vehicle controls.
“We listened to fleet owners and drivers, and redesigned one of the most widely trusted medium-duty trucks on the market to make it even better,” said David Carson, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Daimler Truck North America.
The Plus series brings completely new interiors to the M2 and SD product line, beginning with all-new materials focused on improved fit and finish. It has improved cab insulation for a quieter work environment, and an overall focus on the human-machine interface, said Arron Scates, vice president, vocational and medium-duty product market development.
“Much of the feedback we’ve received on the M2 over the years has been, ‘if it's not broken, don't fix it’,” he told reporters during the recent unveiling of the Plus series. “But more recently, we've gotten feedback that we need to make a major leap forward in terms of technology and features. That’s really what the Plus series is all about.”
Enhancements for all models include new trim levels designed for customer preference and applications, with improved insulation that better muffles exterior noise while providing greater thermal efficiency.
The dash is upgraded with an easy-to-read driver information center, and several of the controls are now integrated into the steering wheel.
All models now include the familiar Detroit transmission control stalk, which is compatible with all automatic and automated manual transmissions.
“This is the first major update of the M2 and SD interior, and it's one of the core elements of the new Plus product,” said Greg Trinen, head of vocational and medium-duty product marketing.
“We’re now using a new plastic material that's designed for reduced squeaks and rattles. It’s a lot more robust and resistant to chemicals, dirt and debris that might wear and tear material inside the dash. We also have standard, insulation in the roof now designed to reduce noise in the cab.”
The customer-configurable dash panel offers 2.5 times more space for truck equipment manufacturers to place their control hardware and a fully customizable switch layout.
Detroit Assurance Debuts
With the new electrical architecture, Plus series trucks give customers access to the Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of safety systems. In addition to being available with all Detroit engine models, for the first time, customers will be able to order certain Detroit Assurance features when spec’ing Cummins engines.
“Even if your fleet has different powertrain needs, you'll still be able to get the same performance and experience, and also train your drivers in the same way about how to use the equipment, regardless of your powertrain choice,” said Scates.
Standard selected safety features, including Active Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and optional Side Guard Assist, allow for increased safety on the road or jobsite. Additional features, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically adjusts cruising speed to maintain a safe following distance, will become available with Plus series at the start of production in the third quarter of 2023.
Outfitted with the Detroit Connect Suite of Connectivity Systems, including Virtual Technician, Detroit Connect Analytics, and Safety Event Viewer, Plus series trucks will provide fleets with key information about vehicle performance for better decision-making and less downtime.
Powertrain and Transmission Options
Also new to Freightliner’s Plus vocational lineup is the DD13 Gen 5 engine. It will be available in the 114SD Plus when the truck goes into production next fall. It comes in ratings from 370-525 hp and 1,250-1,850 lb-ft. and offers front and rear engine power take-offs (FEPTO / REPTO).
Among the new features of the DD13 Gen 5 is ThermoCoasting, which uses the engine brake to keep exhaust temperatures high when coasting or in low-load conditions.
This keeps the aftertreatment system at its optimum temperature and significantly reduces the need for parked regens.
The Detroit DT12-V (vocational) transmission is standard on the 114SD/DD13 Gen 5 combination. It has an Off-Road Mode that features aggressive shifting for sustained momentum and better performance on any terrain and Hill Start Aid to guard against rolling back on steep grades.
The Rock-Free Mode reduces downtime caused by wheel-stuck situations. Paver Mode allows dump trucks to shift from neutral to drive without pressing the brake pedal.
Depending on truck model, the Plus series lineup offers Cummins’ B6.7, L9 and X12 diesel engines as well as L9N and ISX12N natural-gas-powered engines. Eaton manual and automated manual transmissions and Allison automatic transmissions are also available in Plus series trucks.
More Efficient Upfits
Freightliner officials said the Plus series was engineered for more efficient upfitting with the introduction of the QuickFit Electrical System. QuickFit features a new multiplexed architecture that makes integrating truck equipment to the vehicle easier than ever.
QuickFit delivers easier access to critical connection points, more power sources, programmable switches, customizable parameters, and interlock features, making upfits faster, more flexible, reliable, and durable.
“The truck equipment manufacturer can create their own harness and plug in directly to our Deutsch-style connector. When they receive the truck from the dealer, it's essentially a plug-and-play system,” Scates explained. “The TEM can then move right on to doing the validation of their equipment. In other words, they don't have to tear apart the dash to add switches and do a bunch of non-value-added work on the wiring side.”
The Daimler Truck North America CHEC Tool provides a user-friendly interface to view and modify electrical configurations and change parameters in minutes, keeping customization fast, seamless and efficient.
With the power of QuickFit and the CHEC Tool, tasks that were once considered too complex, expensive or impossible can be accomplished more easily and efficiently, according to the company.
With Plus series trucks, key electrical components were also relocated to provide improved isolation from external variables and road debris that can cause downtime.
The B-panel space is highly configurable, with room for up to eight groups of four switches, for a total of 32. If more are needed, they can be placed in the header panel above the driver.
“You can move things around,” said Scates. “You can move switches to where you want them using the CHEC Tool and everything is going to work as it should. Everything's all multiplexed in now; there's no actual hardwiring or anything anymore.”
Production of the Plus series will begin in the third quarter of 2023 at the DTNA Mount Holly, North Carolina, and Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico, plants. The entire Plus line can be ordered beginning immediately.