Futuristic truck would boost Walmart's fuel efficiency

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Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 12:00 am

If it ever hits the road, a prototype truck designed by Walmart could help the mega-retailer keep its “always low” prices down.

Known as the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, the aerodynamic concept truck can burn diesel fuel, but researchers have also experimented with electricity, natural gas, biodiesel and fuel derived from waste grease.

The truck was unveiled in February at the retailer’s Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting.

Tracy Rosser, Walmart’s senior vice president of transportation, called the design “a bold leap forward” in how the company thinks about fleet efficiency.

“Like the concept cars at auto shows, you won’t see this (WAVE truck) on the road any time soon, but the advances in technology and the lessons we learn from this project will have impacts on the industry,” Rosser told The World-Herald in an email.

Researchers with Walmart have also devised a concept trailer made mostly from carbon fiber, making it about two tons lighter than a typical trailer.

Another trailer known as the Supercube is already on the road in Canada for the second phase of testing. Walmart claims the 60.5-foot trailer (a typical trailer is 53 feet long) reduces transport costs by 24 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent.

With about 7,000 trucks in its fleet, Walmart has the fourth-largest private carrier fleet in the country, according to industry publication Transport Topics.

The company operates 41 retail stores in Nebraska, including four Sam’s Clubs, along with a grocery distribution center in North Platte.

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