Leading into the premier North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show earlier this fall, Mack Trucks unveiled Granite and Pinnacle model cab improvements aimed at helping customers attract and retain drivers, and boost productivity.
A racecar-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel—a trucking industry first—improves driver comfort against a conventional full-round design, Mack engineers note, and makes entering and exiting the vehicle easier; gives drivers a better view of the dash; and, can be equipped with illuminated cruise control, Bluetooth and audio system buttons. A new gauge cluster and dash layout likewise improves visibility and readability, and puts frequently used controls at the driver’s fingertips.
Switches are repositioned higher on the dash than predecessor Granite and Pinnacle cab designs, while the Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission shift pad is within easier reach. The dash panel has room for up to 18 easy-to-read switches, which feature laser etched labeling that won’t rub off. HVAC controls now include Automatic Temperature Control that maintains the driver-set temperature. A new lower center console includes cup holders and storage bins, and can be easily removed for cleaning. Multiple 12-volt and USB charging ports are available throughout the dash; two of the USB ports are in a non-slip pad on top.
Updates to the Mack Co-Pilot display, located behind the steering wheel, include a 5-in., full-color screen for visibility and intuitive navigation of many functions. Co-Pilot provides drivers a convenient way to monitor engine and oil temperatures, trip odometers, aftertreatment status and tire pressure. A Pre-Trip Assistant guides them through inspection points and includes a single person exterior light inspection mode.
Controls for the Co-Pilot functions are located on the updated right-hand steering column stalk. A new information and entertainment option, anchored by a 7-in. touchscreen display, is available in both the Granite and Pinnacle models, and accesses Apple Car Play, satellite or weather band radio, and TomTom truck navigation. The display is compatible with third-party back-up camera systems.
“The new interiors speak to the design team’s focus on driver comfort,” says Mack Trucks North America Senior Vice President of Sales Jonathan Randall. “Everything from the dash to the racecar-like feel of the steering wheel was carefully designed to make things better for drivers and fleets looking to retain them.”
“We’ve incorporated more ergonomics and comfort features to make the driving environment more automotive,” adds Highway Product Manager Stu Russoli. “These make a real difference to the driver who’s behind the wheel all day, every day.”
ANTHEM: BULK-HAUL READY
Mack Trucks rolled into Atlanta for the NACV with the new Anthem highway tractor. Available in day cab or long haul configurations, its sports efficiency- and productivity-boosting features, weight-conscious options, plus all-new exterior design with optimized aerodynamics.
“Bulk-haul customers require performance and efficiency to deliver their loads, plus all-day comfort to keep their drivers fresh,” notes Russoli. “The Anthem delivers on all of these, while also offering options to further improve productivity. The GHG2017 Mack MP7 engine is rated up to 425 hp and 1,560 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s 13-liter power with the fuel efficiency and weight benefits of an 11-liter engine, a perfect combination for bulk-haul applications.”
The 12-speed Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission is standard on Anthem models; fully integrated with MP engines, it uses sensors to measure grade, load, speed and other variables to maximize performance and fuel efficiency by automatically selecting the best gear. The optional 13-speed mDRIVE HD provides an additional creeper gear for improved startability while maintaining highway fuel efficiency.
All mDRIVE AMTs are available with Easy Shift. The program revises transmission strategy to reduce load shifting through smoother launches and less aggressive shifting. Load Logic is also available for mDRIVE-equipped, diminishing-load applications to help improve performance and efficiency; it integrates an advanced sensor in the rear suspension with the transmission. The mDRIVE operates as a direct drive transmission whenever a full payload is detected, locking out 12th gear for increased performance and pulling power. When an empty trailer is detected, the transmission switches to overdrive, enabling the 12th gear to lower cruise RPM and maximize fuel efficiency.
With weight savings up to 400 lbs. compared to a typical 6×4 configuration, Mack’s Anthem-suited 6×2 Liftable Pusher Axle monitors trailer weight and adjusts driveline configuration to boost fuel efficiency without impacting performance. Rear suspension sensors determine payload and either lift or lower the foremost rear axle. When an empty load is detected, the axle lifts, allowing the tractor to operate as a 4×2 to net lower drag; potential 3-5 percent fuel efficiency boost; and, up to 20 percent longer tire life. For full loads, the same axle is lowered to provide additional stability and trailer weight distribution.