Mack mDrive automated manual transmission.

Mack mDrive automated manual transmission.

SAN DIEGO -- Mack Trucks is making its mDrive automated manual transmission standard equipment on its Pinnacle on-highway truck model.

During a press conference at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition, the company said the move offers increased fuel efficiency, productivity and safety.

The increasing popularity of the mDrive led to the decision to make the transmission standard on the Pinnacle, according to the company, with more than 50% of Pinnacle models sold now equipped with the transmission.

According to Mack, mDrive is based on proven technology, requiring minimal service and significantly reducing maintenance downtime, while its simplified shifting can help attract and retain drivers.

The 12-speed mDrive continuously monitors multiple driving variables to maximize driver productivity, performance and fuel efficiency, said Mack.

The mDrive is controlled through a dash-mounted shift pad with an integrated display to indicate the current gear. The Mack Co-Pilot driver display, located in the center of the instrument panel, displays the mDrive’s status, including the number of upshifts or downshifts available, the current gear and the current operating mode.

The mDrive, part of Mack’s integrated powertrains, is designed to work with Mack MP series engines. When combined with a Mack Pedigree Powertrain, the mDrive can boost fuel efficiency by up to 1.5% compared to a standard transmission, according to Mack.

For applications where fuel economy is a priority, Mack said Pinnacle models can be spec’d with the Super Econodyne integrated powertrain package. Featuring the Mack MP7 or Mack MP8 engine, mDrive, proprietary drive axles and Mack’s custom software, the Super Econodyne package maximizes efficiency without sacrificing performance, according to the compay. When compared to similarly spec’d vehicles, Mack said the MP7 Super Econodyne and MP8 Super Econodyne provides fuel economy improvement of up to 4% and 3.5%, respectively.

A key feature of the Super Econodyne package is “downspeeding” of the engine. “Downspeeding” reduces engine rpm by more than 200 rpm at a highway speed of 65 mph, cruising at 1160 rpm versus 1380 rpm. This decrease in engine rpm reduces fuel consumption, with a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions, according to Mack.