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PHOTO CAPTION: Video screenshot of Peterbuilt-developed WAVE Concept semi trailer

Walmart Reveals Hybrid-Electric Semi Concept

Streamlined concept is powered by 30kW Capstone Microturbine and Li-Poly batteries with an estimated 80 miles of EV-mode range and over 500 miles of hybrid range.

Published: 18-Feb-2014

Walmart recently revealed its WAVE Concept semi trailer. WAVE stands for Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience and introduces the concept of a full efficient and next generation semi-trailer that may in fact power the flow of goods and services for Walmart products and possibly the rest of the United States flow of commerce. The WAVE concept is the latest of Walmart fleet efficiency program. With over 7000 trucks

First of all, the Wave concept truck has very advanced, one of a kind set of aerodynamics that sets it apart from any semi-trailer on the road today. With its hybrid powertrain entirely underneath the cab, the front end design isn't dictated by a large internal combustion engine.The cab itself sits atop its powertrain and offers a sleek wind tunnel designed front drivers window that offers a commanding view of the road. The entire can is tapered to blend into the trailer itself, which at fifty-three feet long, is entirely made out of carbon fibre paneling (an industry first). All this carbon fibre saves around two whole tons, which can go towards hauling more merchandise.

Powering this technological tour-de-force is a Capstone Turbine engine coupled to an electrical powertrain. Capstone Turbines is a California based gas turbine manufacturer that specializes in microturbine power along with heating and cooling cogeneration systems. Key to the Capstone design is its use of foil bearings, which provides maintenance and fluid-free operation for the lifetime of the turbine and reduces the system to a single moving part. This also eliminates the need for any cooling or other secondary systems.Their light weight, small size, and quick starting time make them ideal as "instant-on" backup power to recharge the main batteries. An example of a hybrid vehicle is the Capstone CTM-380, with a 30 kW gas turbine generator running on diesel, that recharges Li-Poly batteries when necessary. The CMT-380 has a proposed range of 80 miles on battery alone, but when combined with the micro turbine that range is pushed to over 500+ miles.

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