Peterbilt Motors Company introduced the UltraLoft, a new 80-inch sleeper configuration for its Model 579 tractor that brings an integral cab design to the product range to enhance ergonomics and driver comfort.
After achieving a record 15.3 percent share of the Class 8 market in the United States and Canada in 2017, Peterbilt expects the UltraLoft to help continue that growth as high driver turnover rates and driver shortage create a growing need for team driving applications as fleets train more inexperienced drivers and use in-cab driver comfort amenities as a recruiting advantage, said Robert Woodall, Peterbilt’s assistant general manager of sales and marketing.
“Discreet sleepers have served us extremely well and we’ll continue to offer those for our customers, but the fully integral cab closes a gap that we had in our product line and will provide access to new customers that demand the extra space of a loft product,” said Woodall. “Even drivers running in single applications want more space and amenities, and that was the driver behind our response with the UltraLoft product. This makes it an ideal truck for team drivers, training scenarios and customers that want to maximize aerodynamic performance and driver comfort.”
Peterbilt solicited input from hundreds of drivers during the UltraLoft’s design phase, including visits to truck stops to watch how drivers interact with current product and input from customer council groups and Women in Trucking.
“In this industry, our customers and drivers are the lifeblood of our business,” said Kyle Quinn, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar senior vice president. “We have to build and sell the products they want and need. We spent significant time and resources to gather information on what they need to make their lives easier, more comfortable and more efficient on the road.”
The UltraLoft is available with or without Peterbilt’s Epiq aerodynamic package and offers a 2 percent aerodynamic efficiency improvement and 1 percent gain in fuel efficiency over a similarly spec’d discreet cab configuration.
Available in single- and dual-bunk configurations, the UltraLoft’s new interior comes standard with 70 cubic feet of storage space, with an additional 14 cubic feet of shelving available on the single-bunk configuration. Peterbilt also added lockable storage bins above the driver and passenger doors that have enough space to accommodate two CPAP machines.
The wardrobe closet comes standard with a 42-inch hanging height, and Peterbilt plans to add a shelving option for team applications and drivers who prefer to fold clothes. A 1.1-cubic foot microwave option also is available, as well as room for a 32-inch flat-screen TV on the foot wall of the lower bunk.
The UltraLoft’s lower bunk mattress measures 85 inches by 42 inches, and the upper bunk – capable of supporting 400 pounds – is slightly smaller at 82 inches by 36 inches. Both bunks feature ample headroom, with 48 inches for the lower bunk and 39 inches for the top bunk.
“Throughout the design process we asked ourselves, “What is best for the drivers to be the most comfortable and productive?’” said Scott Newhouse, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. “So, we added headroom, storage and improved the overall space to maximize the driver’s experience. The expansive loft style space, the increase in efficiency and the reduction in overall tractor weight are a testament to the team’s focus on maximizing the driver experience.”
The UltraLoft spec is now available for order, and production is expected to begin in July.