Tractor units are changing fast, as heavy commercial vehicle operators demand better fuel consumption and efficiencies, while legislators focus on Euro 6 emissions. (image: Ryder)
For the truck OEMs, the emphasis is on: improved diesel engines, using EGR, SCR
and DPF equipment; parallel diesel-electric hybrid drivelines with KERS braking;
alternative fuels and dual-fuel engines; and improved automatic transmissions.
Beyond that, the future for artics holds: photovoltaic panels on cabs; LED lighting;
aerodynamics, with automatic fifth wheel controls to minimise turbulence in the
gap between tractor and semi-trailer; and advanced thermal management for heat rejection.
Then, while HGV running gear – air and steel suspension, lifting axles and 4x2,
6x2 and 6x4 configurations – see further weight reductions, we expect automatic
tyre inflation monitoring for reduced rolling resistance and more mirrors, cameras
and active driver assistance (ABS, ESP etc).
As for tractive unit day cabs and sleeper cabs, it’s about even more lavish interiors,
with 3D sound, laptop-like instrument panels and office and home functions.