Freightliner: Study proves Cascadia is most aerodynamic Class 8 truck

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Freightliner announced Wednesday, Aug. 29 that — according to Auto Research Center Inc. (ARC), an independent aerodynamics research team based in Indianapolis used by vehicle manufacturers, NASCAR and other racing teams — the Freightliner Cascadia is officially more aerodynamic than other Class 8 commercial vehicles.

Freightliner says ARC researchers compared the Cascadia with four other similarly spec’d Class 8 vehicles – the International ProStar, Kenworth T660, Peterbilt 386 and Volvo 780 – using its state-of-the-art wind tunnel, the only aerodynamic testing facility in the world built specifically for Class 8 vehicles.

Testing took place in June and July, Freightliner says. Researchers measured wind drag on the front, sides and back of the tractor, as well as the front of the trailer; there was a tractor-trailer gap of 48 inches. The amount of drag for the Cascadia was consistently lower and better than competitors, Freightliner says: The ProStar recorded 7.8 percent more drag than the Cascadia; the 780 showed 9.6 percent more drag; the T660 showed 18.8 percent more drag; and the 386 showed 22.9 percent more drag.

“My overall conclusion from this test is that, based upon the results, the Freightliner Cascadia is the most aerodynamic of the five tractors tested,” says Mike Camosy, ARC operations manager, in a written report.

“We read our competitors’ claims on aerodynamics and wonder if they were based on comparisons with older models or against models with very different specs,” says Michael Delaney, senior vice president of marketing for Freightliner. “It didn’t appear to be scientifically based. Aerodynamic efficiency isn’t a function of looks – it’s about measured airflow resistance. We were confident the Cascadia would prove to be superior in this area when solid science was applied.

“Customers don’t want to hear marketing people talk about aerodynamics – they want to hear it from independent sources, which is why we waited to talk about it until valid tests could be performed by outside experts,” Delaney says. “The results proved what we expected. It’s always great to have the facts independently validated.

“The Cascadia had already accumulated 2,500 hours of aerodynamic testing over 16 months through our engineering group, so we were pretty confident going in,” Delaney says. “The Cascadia is fuel-efficient, quiet, comfortable and a kick to drive. It really is a smart choice for a better business and lifestyle.”

Using anticipated fuel costs and differing applications, the Cascadia’s efficiency could save customers as much as $950 to $2,750 a year per truck, Delaney says. Fuel savings were calculated assuming each truck was driven 144,000 miles per year, with fuel at $3 per gallon, driving 60 mph.

Freightliner Trucks introduced the Cascadia in May.