LAS VEGAS -- The newest fuel efficient on-highway truck in North America combines Western Star style and durability with a fully integrated Detroit powertrain for fuel-efficiency and Daimler's aerodynamic technology.
"The 5700XE is Western Star's introduction to the aerodynamic class on-highway market," says Michael Jackson, general manager, Western Star. "It's aerodynamic to be sure, but we wanted to maintain a very distinct Western Star style. People who buy Western Star trucks do not want to be like the rest of the pack. They are looking for something that makes a statement about themselves and the businesses they run."
The most striking feature of the new 5700XE is the aero styling, which according to chief designer, Don Vena, defies the traditional "rounded" approach and instead opts for angles and edges.
"The truck had to maintain its own distinct and unique look," he says. "The wind tunnel work we did proved that the angles and edges we used on the 5700XE are not only very effective at reducing drag, but add to the look that has Western Star written all over it."
The new aerodynamic features include an aerodynamic hood along with roof, chassis and cab fairings to reduce drag and increase efficiency. The front bumper, for example is designed to sweep air up and over the fenders as well as around the wheels.
"The bumper end caps -- around here we call them 'fangs' -- were needed for the air flow we wanted," Vena says. "We absolutely had to have them otherwise the aerodynamics fall apart. The hard edges work to sculpt the air flow around the truck."
The sunvisor was another important part of the aero package. Vena says it's aero neutral, meaning it doesn't add or detract from the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but it allowed designers to retain the bold and classic sunvisor at a time when other truck manufacturers are ditching the popular fixture to improve aerodynamics. The sunvisor is engineered to work with the slope on the hood’s rear air ramp to direct airflow over the cab without an aerodynamic penalty.
"What we have with this truck is the second-best aero-performing vehicle in the Daimler stable, which proves you can be aerodynamic but you can still look really good too," Vena says.
Additional performance features include:
- A new sweptback four-piece bumper with an under-bumper valance that contributes to aerodynamic efficiency
- Roof and cab fairings that sweep back for tighter trailer gap and help direct air flow over and around the trailer.
- Optional chassis side fairings that reduce drag by up to 6 percent while still providing easy access to batteries and DEF tank.
- New halogen headlights that are optimized for aerodynamic performance and excellent visibility.
The 5700XE can be spec’d with the fuel-efficient Detroit DD15 engine, which features the lighter and less complex asymmetric turbocharger, a variable speed water pump that reduces parasitic loads when full output is not required. The GHG14 version of the DD15 also has the next-generation Amplified Common Rail Fuel System that delivers up to 36,000 psi injection pressure for finer atomization of the fuel and a more complete burn.
It's also available with the DD13 and DD16 engines for customers looking for flexibility in engine spec'ing. The truck comes standard with the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission that can be mated to any of the Detroit engines offered.
And for ultimate efficiency, customers can select the integrated Detroit Powertrain, featuring the new downsped DD15 engine rated at 400 horsepower and 1750 foot-pound torque, DT12 transmission with Intelligent Powertrain Management and Detroit axles with specific configurations and gearing.
“Now customers can have both the most fuel-efficient powertrain available and unique quality and styling. In fact, our Daimler Trucks North America internal testing indicates that the 5700XE is competitive with the fuel-efficiency results of the leading truck model on the market,” said Ann Demitruk, director of marketing for Western Star. “We want to provide the latest in proven technologies that will benefit customers’ bottom lines, and Detroit delivers on all fronts.”
The 5700XE is also equipped with the proprietary Detroit Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service, which is part of the Detroit Connect suite of integrated telematics solutions. Detroit Connect also includes Visibility fleet software and the forthcoming On-Board Tablet, as options for the 5700XE.
Planning for the Future
Western Star began development work on the 5700XE in 2012 following the launch of the 4900-series vocational platform. They conducted extensive driver and customer surveys, which revealed that aerodynamics and fuel economy were becoming higher priorities for the owner-operator and smaller fleet owner.
"Three years ago, about 40 percent of our customer base told us that they would not buy an aerodynamic truck," says Jackson. "That's all changed today. Now our customers are telling us they have to make money with a truck. They tell us that branding and image are important, but at the end of the day they have to make money."
Jackson says Western Star wasn't in a position to play in the full aero market, but they had some success with the 4700FE a few years ago, which opened the door to entering the market with a partial truck.
"It's the perfect time to launch a truck like this," he says. "A lot of the current growth is coming from fleets, but now it's time for the smaller companies and owner-operators who need that badge and the image for their company. And there's been a lot of interest from the large truckload fleets as well. They are looking at the 5700XE as a reward truck for their best drivers."
All That and Safety Too
Western Star didn’t stop at creating an aerodynamic, fuel-efficient powerhouse with a comfortable and well-appointed cab. Inside and out, the 5700XE is a very technologically advanced truck with many new and innovative safety features.
Some of the safety features found in the 5700XE include:
- Meritor WABCO OnLane Lane Departure Warning System: Audible, directional warning signals let the driver know if the truck’s course needs to be corrected.
- Meritor WABCO OnGuard Adaptive Cruise Control: Using on-board sensors and working with conventional cruise control, the 5700XE will automatically adjust vehicle speed to maintain the set cruise speed and a safe distance from vehicles in front of it.
- Meritor WABCO OnGuard Collision Mitigation System: This radar-based system provides visual and audible driver alerts through an in-cab dash display when the vehicle’s following distance could result in a rear-end collision. If the driver doesn’t take action, OnGuard’s Active Braking automatically de-throttles the engine and activates the service brakes.
- Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM): A feature of the DT12 transmission, which is standard on the 5700XE, IPM uses GPS and pre-loaded terrain maps to evaluate the road profile up to three miles in advance and determine the most fuel efficient vehicle operation (including vehicle speed, transmission gear, and engine rpm).
- Electronic stability and roll stability control: Working together, the 5700XE’s ABS with electronic stability and roll stability control stabilize the truck, and can help reduce roll-overs, skidding and spinouts.
“Daimler Trucks North America has pioneered many safety achievements, and we are proud to have those features in the 5700XE,” Demitruk notes.
The 5700XE also features a fully adjustable steering column, and a state-of-the-art steering wheel with integrated controls for the stereo and cruise control, as well as a Bluetooth connection for mobile phones.
In addition, an all-new turn signal stalk includes integrated wiper and high beam controls. A new transmission control stalk on the right side of the column allows finger-tip control of the engine brake and Detroit DT12 transmission, helping drivers stay focused and confident behind the wheel.
The 5700XE will be built at Western Star's Cleveland, N.C. assembly plant. Dealers will begin taking orders for the truck later this year for delivery March or April.
The 5700XE is available with several sleeper configurations, including 34-, 40-, 54-, 68-, and 82-inch in low-roof, high-roof Stratosphere and ultra-high-rood Stratosphere. Wheelbases up to 250 inches are standard specs, longer wheelbases are available with engineering approval.
Click here for a photo gallery highlighting the new model's features.
For additional information, and to find a local dealer, visit WesternStar.com
Watch Michael Jackson talk about the new Western Star: