Walmart revealed earlier Sunday afternoon (Feb 17, 2014) its WAVE Concept semi trailer. WAVE stands for Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience and introduces the concept of a fuel efficient next generation semi-trailer that may in fact power the flow of goods and services for Walmart products and possibly the rest of the United States flow of commerce. The WAVE concept is the latest of Walmart fleet efficiency program. With over 7000 trucks, Walmart's fleet of vehicles provides a large opportunity to increase fuel efficiency across the board and set an example for the rest of the big box stores.
First of all, the Wave concept truck has an advanced, one of a kind, set of aerodynamics that sets it apart from any semi-trailer on the road today. With its hybrid powertrain entirely underneath the cab, the front end design isn't dictated by a large internal combustion engine.The cab itself sits atop its powertrain and offers a sleek wind tunnel designed front drivers window that offers a commanding view of the road. The entire cab is tapered to blend into the trailer itself, which at fifty-three feet long, is entirely made out of carbon fibre paneling (an industry first). All this carbon fibre saves around two whole tons, which can go towards hauling more goods and services.
Powering this technological tour-de-force is a Capstone Turbine engine coupled to an electrical powertrain. Capstone Turbines is a California based gas turbine manufacturer that specializes in microturbine power along with heating and cooling cogeneration systems. Key to the Capstone design is its use of foil bearings, which provides maintenance and fluid-free operation for the lifetime of the turbine and reduces the system to a single moving part. This also eliminates the need for any cooling or other secondary systems.Their light weight, small size, and quick starting time make them ideal as "instant-on" backup power to recharge the main batteries. An example of a hybrid vehicle is the Capstone CTM-380, with a 30 kW gas turbine generator running on diesel, that recharges Li-Poly batteries when necessary. The CMT-380 has a proposed range of 80 miles on battery alone, but when combined with the micro turbine that range is pushed to over 500+ miles.
With just a video announcement being the first the public has heard about this project, we’re all ears as to what Wal-Mart will do with such a revolutionary design.
Source: Walmart Corporate