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Walmart Unveils Futuristic Truck That Is Fuel-Efficient
Walmart’s logo may be blue, but the company is going green.
The retail giant unveiled a prototype of a new truck at the Mid-America Trucking Show Wednesday that — if it reaches the road — could decrease the amount of emissions the company’s enormous fleet produces.
Dubbed the “Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience” or WAVE, the fuel-efficient truck is part of the company’s larger commitment to sustainability. In 2005, Walmart promised to double the efficiency of its fleet. which contains 6,500 tractors, 55,000 trailers and 7,000 drivers, by 2015. Now, nearly 10 years later, the retailer claims it has “achieved an 84% improvement in fleet efficiency over its 2005 baseline.”
“[WAVE] may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillion wrote on the company’s blog in February.
WAVE’s body is built with lightweight carbon fiber, making it 4,000 pounds lighter than traditional models, according to Walmart. The truck also has 20% less aerodynamic drag than those currently in Walmart’s fleet. WAVE runs on a microturbine that uses a combination of natural gases and other fuels, and can automatically choose the most efficient of three modes — charge, electric or hybrid electric — to run on. WAVE’s design also has a more futuristic style than previous Walmart trucks: A spacious cockpit boasts a center seat that would give drivers greater visibility, as well as digital displays, a fold-out bed and a sliding door.
New fuel standards for large trucks such as those in Walmart’s fleet will be drafted by next year, The New York Times reported. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the development last month as part of a broader effort to clamp down on climate change.
WAVE was a collaboration between Walmart and multiple vendors, including truck manufacturer Peterbilt and gas-turbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine. Walmart has only just started formal testing on the prototype, and has no definite date for when it might integrated into its fleet.