LAS VEGAS can offer the ideal venue for someone wanting to make a statement about taking a bold step. That certainly seems true for the Western Star team that developed the newly launched 5700XE on-highway tractor.
The rollout of the new tractor took place in early September on the outskirts of the glitzy gambling and entertainment Mecca. Michael Jackson, Western Star general manager, used the occasion to state that Western Star wants to become a bigger player in the North American heavy-duty truck market and it has some aggressive growth plans.
“We want to be in the mix building a bigger market share, and we want to do it our way,” he said. “We’re at about 1.5% marketshare now, and we plant to reach 2% soon. Ultimately, we would like to reach something in excess of 5%. This new on-highway tractor positions us to do that.
He says the 5700 XE has plenty of attributes that should appeal to chemical fleets, crude oil haulers, and other tank truck operations. The truck builder is targeting owner-operators and small to medium fleets in truckload and longhaul applications.
The 5700XE features a 126-inch BBC with a set-back axle, and is available in a range of spacious and lightweight daycab and sleeper configurations. Western Star will begin taking orders for the 5700 XE this fall, and production will begin in the first quarter of 2015.
The 5700 XE has “crazy good” styling and aerodynamics, attractive tare weight, and very good fuel economy. “XE—which stands for extreme efficiency—summarizes exactly what this new truck is all about,” Jackson said. “By blending legendary Western Star ruggedness together with aerodynamic innovations, and the most fuel efficient powertrain available, we have built a powerful solution that is the best of both worlds—and unlike anything else on the road today.”
While the 5700 XE is very much a Western Star design, the development team was able to draw on the technological expertise of parent company Daimler Trucks North America. “We leveraged every Daimler resource that was available,” Jackson said. “Daimler has perfected aerodynamic technology for heavy-duty trucks, and we were able to incorporate what was learned with the Freightliner Cascadia. We had access to what we believe are the best engines and automated transmissions on the market. Standard equipment for the 5700 XE is the Detroit DD15 engine and DT12 automated transmission.”
Wind tunnel testing verified that all-new features such as the aerodynamic hood, roof, chassis, and cab fairings reduce drag and increase efficiency for the 5700 XE. Aerodynamic performance features include:
• A new sweptback four-piece bumper with an under-bumper valance that contributes to aerodynamic efficiency.
• New halogen headlights that are optimized for aerodynamic performance and excellent visibility.
• A state-of-the-art visor specifically engineered to work with the impressive slope in the hood’s rear air ramp to direct airflow over the cab without an aerodynamic penalty.
• Roof and cab fairings that sweep back for tighter trailer gap and help direct air flow over and around the trailer.
• Optional chassis side fairings that reduce drag by up to 6% while still providing easy access to batteries and DEF tank.
• The Western Star Twin Force dual air intake, which feeds a massive centrally mounted air filter to improve efficiency.
Don Vena, senior designer, Daimler Trucks North America, stressed that the design team went to great lengths to ensure that they maintained Western Star’s iconic look while incorporating the cutting edge aerodynamics. This includes the center bump in the hood and rectangular headlights.
“We didn’t want a purely aerodynamic look,” he said. “We wanted to retain the rugged Western Star look.”
All in all, the design effort achieved a 12% average improvement in aerodynamics, according to Jesus Gomez, Western Star director of engineering. “This puts the 5700 XE in the most aggressive category for greenhouse gas reductions,” he said.
In developing the 5700 XE, Western Star combined aerodynamic efficiency with the fuel economy of the new integrated Detroit powertrain. Featuring a downsped DD15 engine rated at 400 horsepower and 1,750 ft-lb torque, Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission with Intelligent Powertrain Management, and Detroit axles with specific configurations and gearing, the system is engineered to work together to achieve the highest level of efficiency.
The 5700XE can also be spec’d with the Detroit DD16 engine, which, with up to 600 horsepower, delivers the maximum power many Western Star customers require. The Detroit DD13 engine is available for regional and weight-conscious customers. The truck comes standard with the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission that can be mated to any of the Detroit engines offered.
“The DT12 has been available for less than two years, and we’ve had an extremely positive reaction from customers,” said Brad Williamson, manager, engine and component marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. “We have high expectations that Western Star customers will experience the power and driver-friendly benefits of the transmission—benefits that will make the 5700XE one of the most efficient and powerful trucks in the industry.”
Inside the corrosion-resistant galvannealed lightweight steel cab, drivers will appreciate the new adjustable steering column and steering wheel, featuring integrated controls that help drivers focus on the road ahead. The well-appointed and sound-resistant sleeper further contributes to the quiet and comfortable ride drivers expect from Western Star.
The 5700XE is also equipped with the proprietary Detroit Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service, which is part of the Detroit Connect suite of integrated telematics solutions. Detroit Connect also includes Visibility fleet software and the forthcoming on-board tablet, as options for the 5700XE.
“With a modern and more aggressive interpretation of the classic exterior styling that Western Star is known for, drivers will be proud to be behind the wheel of the 5700XE,” said Ann Demitruk, Western Star director of marketing. “We’ve made sure to create an environment that they’ll enjoy being in during those long days on the road. We considered every detail to create an incredibly comfortable, highly efficient truck that stands up to the extremely high expectations Western Star customers have.” ♦