As the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) also maintains one of the largest private truck fleets. In a goal aimed at protecting the company’s bottom line and the environment, Walmart said it wants to double the efficiency of its truck fleet by 2015.
With that goal in mind, Walmart revealed the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, a concept for a new, highly efficient big-rig truck. WAVE’s cab is made with advanced aerodynamics, the trailer is made almost entirely of carbon fiber and the WAVE is powered by a hybrid powertrain.
WAVE looks nothing like traditional large trucks currently on the roads. The driver sits in the middle of the cab, and the conventional gauges are replaced with LCD screens. There is an area behind the cab for the driver to sleep.
The WAVE’s trailer also features a convex nose to reduce drag and increase cargo space, and the carbon fiber trailer is about 4,000 pounds lighter than conventional trailers, thus allowing WAVE to carry more cargo without sacrificing power or fuel consumption. Walmart said that the 53-foot side panels are largest single pieces of carbon fiber ever produced.
Like with most concept vehicles, it’s unlikely that WAVE will hit the roads anytime soon, or ever, Walmart noted. Still, the concept becomes a way to test new technologies and apply the lessons to Walmart’s “Supercube” trucks.
Most modern big trucks only get 5 to 6 miles per gallon, but other concept trucks like the AirFlow Bullet Truck nailed 13.4 mpg on a recent cross-country trip.