A new set-forward axle configuration (SFFA) for its flagship vocational Model 567 was one of the highlights of Peterbilt’s year of new products and services.

The SFFA is especially well-suited to mixer and other weight-conscious applications and went into production in June, according to Charles Cook, marketing manager for vocational products.

Like the set-back axle version, the Model 567 SFFA is available in both 115- and 121-inch BBC lengths. The 115-inch BBC has a bumper to front axle distance of 29 inches and the 121-inch BBC has a bumper to front axle distance of 31 inches. These dimensions were specifically engineered to maximize maneuverability while providing the ideal wheelbase to comply with bridge law requirements.

Peterbilt added a 58-inch sleeper for Model 579 that went into production during the fourth quarter. It reduces weight by up to 100 pounds (versus the 80-inch sleeper) while including all of the driver amenities found on Peterbilt’s larger sleepers. It is available in both low- and mid-roof configurations to further increase its versatility to meet specific application requirements, including flatbed and tanker operations. The new sleeper includes a full-length door to help facilitate loading personal gear and belongings from outside the truck plus full-length, integrated extenders to minimize trailer gap and improve aerodynamic efficiency. It also features a full-length mattress and abundant storage areas (including cabinets under the bunk and on the back wall) plus a television mount, refrigerator and microwave shelf.

Peterbilt’s new Predictive Cruise technology anticipates and responds to changes in terrain—such as accelerating ahead of hills and coasting on the decline—and is designed to automatically optimize engine and transmission operation when in cruise control for maximum fuel economy. So-called “neutral coasting” utilizes the truck’s momentum to save fuel and engages the engine brake to manage downhill speeds.

By integrating the powertrain, cruise control, and satellite mapping, the vehicle automatically responds to the road ahead for up to three percent improved fuel economy, according to Peterbilt.

Predictive Cruise and neutral coast work together in five steps to maximize the truck’s kinetic energy: when approaching a hill, the system uses onboard maps and GPS data to accelerate to the optimal speed and adjust for the increasing road grade; before the peak of the incline, the vehicle curbs its speed before proceeding downhill; neutral coast engages as the truck rolls downhill; if necessary, the engine brake engages to avoid over speeding; and cruising speed is maintained as the vehicle continues onto level terrain.

Peterbilt’s new SmartLINQ remote diagnostics system, factory-installed and fully integrated, is designed to provide customers with real-time, at-a-glance fleet health to maximize uptime, keep deliveries on schedule and manage service events.

When a diagnostic code is generated, the severity of the code is analyzed. There are three general areas the diagnostic codes will fall into: service advised; service immediately; and stop engine. Diagnostic code notifications will be sent via email to whomever the customer designates with all of the information a fleet manager needs to get a vehicle serviced quickly to maximize uptime. Or, in the event of more severe service issues, make arrangements to get a load hauled by another truck to keep deliveries on-time.

All vehicles equipped with SmartLINQ can also be monitored in real time through a web-based portal customized for the customer. The at-a-glance interface includes a map of North America with each unit represented by an icon color coded to vehicle health: green for no events; yellow for diagnostic codes that need attention soon; and red for diagnostic code events that require immediate action. There are also icons to indicate related information, such as Peterbilt dealer locations.

SmartLINQ-equipped trucks include a dedicated modem, antenna, access to the portal and the complimentary, two-year subscription. Additionally, SmartLINQ is compatible with any telematics system.

The system began production in June and will be standard on all Peterbilt trucks equipped with a PACCAR MX-13 engine. It includes a complimentary two-year subscription. SmartLINQ will be expanded to other truck systems and platforms in the months ahead.

Peterbilt also introduced two new medium-duty vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)—the Model 337 and Model 348. Both vehicles are now in production and can be ordered configured as trucks or tractors.

The dimensions provide a BBC two inches shorter than any competitive model and a cab height that is 2.5 inches lower. The optimized spec, including steering geometry that provides up to a 50-degree turning angle, provides improved maneuverability in congested city and jobsite operations.

Both the Models 348 and 337 are powered by the Cummins Westport ISL-G with 320 horsepower and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine complies with EPA 2010, 2013 and CARB regulations.

Liquid natural gas (LNG) has also been added as a power option for Peterbilt Models 579 and 567, introduced earlier in CNG configurations. Both are available as daycabs. Production began in June.

Peterbilt also introduced the next generation of its in-dash SmartNav “infotainment” system that features an expanded array of virtual gauges, auto-activated safety cameras, improved hands-free calling and the capability to provide real-time traffic and fuel price information.

One of the key improvements to the new SmartNav system is its ability to be customized with approved applications developed by Peterbilt, PACCAR, or third parties. Future functionality could include integration with reefer trailers or truck bodies to provide operational data, like reefer temperature. SmartNav’s new flexible architecture allows it to be updated quickly with additional features and capabilities. It is telematics-enabled to communicate with systems such as electronic logbooks and other fleet management platforms. ♦

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