AUSTIN. Mack Trucks on Friday used an Earth Day event in one of the country’s “greenest” cities to reveal the next step in the evolution of its integrated powertrain, introducing its 2017 Mack MP series engines which bring significant improvements in fuel efficiency, power and productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking to a gathering of trucking industry editors, Mack officials also touted the introduction of predictive cruise control technology to Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmissions.
“We’re an American brand that is supported by great global resources. We’ve become a leader in innovation,” said Dennis Slagle, president of Mack Trucks. “If you look at the way the engine has been developed over the years, if you look at mDRIVE, if you look at GuardDog Connect and how we manage uptime—this is very much innovation leadership, put into practical applications that work for the customer.”
Thanks to several upgrades and enhancements, the new engines boost fuel efficiency from 2.1 to 8.8 percent compared with prior model year engines, according to the company presentation.
Mack’s 11-liter MP7 and 13-liter MP8 engines received a number of advancements for 2017, designed to simplify maintenance and improve efficiency and productivity. Both engines feature an updated wave piston design that raises the compression ratio and enables more complete combustion of fuel, while a common-rail fuel system more precisely injects fuel. Combined with a two-speed coolant pump, these features help increase MP7 fuel efficiency by up to 5.1 percent and MP8 fuel efficiency by up to 5 percent.
A number of additional improvements were made to both engines, including a new two-piece valve cover, shimless rockers and a low-pressure fuel system with an enhanced, integrated aftertreatment dosing module to reduce maintenance needs. An updated, double-walled EGR flow sensor helps reduce condensation and soot buildup in cold weather, while a new intake throttle enables a faster warmup when the engine is started.
“We began this development journey about three years ago when we started working on the greenhouse gas regulations for 2017,” said Roy Horton, director of product strategy. “At the same time, we decided to update our powertrain platform to bring improved performance, improved efficiencies—and to increase the value proposition to our customers across the board.”
For customers with long-haul applications, Mack will offer the 2017 MP8 engine with a turbo compounding system engineered to give customers a no-compromise increase in power and efficiency. Turbo compounding converts waste energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy that is fed back to the engine. The system adds up to 50 additional horsepower, enabling a substantial increase of fuel efficiency of up to 8.8 percent.
“With turbo compounding, we’re putting extra power back into the driveshaft. With that 50 extra horsepower, we can actually lower the rpms down to 900 and get full torque on the engine,” added Stu Russoli, Mack highway and powertrain products marketing manager. “Today, it’s 1,100 rpm. If we get to 900 rpm, we can bring the improvement up to 9 percent. We’re saying 8.8 percent, but the guys in Hagerstown (the Maryland powertrain facility) are fairly optimistic that’s a low number.”
The Mack MP8 with turbo compounding is available exclusively with Mack’s Super Econodyne downspeeding package. The additional power generated by the turbo compounding system not only enables a broader operating range in top gear, but also allows a truck to hold top gear longer when overtaking a hill, even with falling engine rpm.
The updated 2017 Mack MP series engines complement Mack’s recently launched Mack mDRIVE HD 13- and 14-speed automated manual transmissions. With up to two low-ratio creeper gears, the new mDRIVE HD variants provide improved startability for heavy loads, while maintaining proper gearing for fuel efficiency at speed.
“The mDRIVE has been a fantastic story for us from Day One,” Horton noted. “Looking at the order board for 2016, mDRIVE is the most dominant transmission for us, across all models.”
Further extending the fuel efficiency improvements associated with the AMT, the company also introduced Mack Predictive Cruise, an intelligent system that memorizes a route when cruise control is on, storing up to 4,500 hills in its memory. The next time the driver travels the route, Mack Predictive Cruise engages mDRIVE to choose the most fuel-efficient gear.
Mack Predictive Cruise constantly monitors speed, engine load, weight and the road gradient in order to select the best gear for the road ahead, and can increase fuel efficiency by up to 1 percent, the company says.
“These products are just more examples of how our integrated powertrain drives results at the customer bottom line,” said John Walsh, vice president of marketing. “The MP series engines, our mDRIVE transmissions and our Mack axles—powertrain integration: Mack pioneered it, Mack owns it.”
The 2017 Mack MP8 will be available for order in April 2016, while the 2017 MP7 and MP10 engines will be available for order in July 2016. The Mack MP8 with turbo compounding will be available for order in October 2016.