Mack unveils engines, transmissions, and Predictive Cruise

Mack Trucks in the US targets fuel consumption with more efficient engines and new transmission offerings

Mack unveils engines, transmissions, and Predictive Cruise
The 2017 Mack MP8 engine.


Mack Trucks has released its next generation of MP series engines and mDrive transmissions in the US, promising "significant improvements in fuel efficiency, power and productivity, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Fuel consumption gains achieved by the 2017 Mack engines range from 2.1 per cent to 8.8 per cent on previous models of the 11-litre MP7 and 13-litre MP8, the truck maker says.

Both engines include an updated wave piston design, which raises compression ratio and fuel combustion; a two-speed coolant pump; and a more-precise common-rail fuel system.

A new two-piece valve cover, shimless rockers, low-pressure fuel system, and updated double-walled EGR flow sensor are also among the new features.

"In addition to efficiency and maintenance improvements, we’re also delivering more power," Mack US highway and powertrain products marketing manager Stu Russoli says.

"With a new 425 horsepower rating, the 2017 MP7 offers 13-litre power in a lightweight, efficient 11-litre package ideal for weight sensitive applications."

The 2017 MP8 variant, suited to long-haul applications, ships with an optional turbo compounding system.

The system recycles waste energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy to be re-fed back through the engine; a move that provides an additional 50hp and a fuel consumption drop of up to 8.8 per cent.  

The system also means Mack trucks can maintain full torque at 900rpm.

While the bigger MP10 engine, with a 16-litre capacity, remains unchanged in the 2017 lineup, Mack’s mDrive offerings have been updated to match the new MP7 and MP8 models.


mDrive and Predictive Cruise

The Mack mDrive HD transmission comes in 13- or 14-speed automated manual versions with two low-ratio creeper gears.

"Customers hauling heavier GCWs, or working tough or loose terrain, can now gear their rear axle ratios faster in order to take advantage of fuel efficiency at highway speeds, while at the same time being able to use the tractive effort of the low transmission gears," Russoli says.

While creeper gears may help get big loads moving, the big announcement for transmissions may come for those already underway in the form of Mack Predictive Cruise.

The new system memorises a route while cruise control is on, storing hills into its memory.

With a capacity to remember up to 4,500 hills, Mack Predictive Cruise uses that information the next time it travels the route and ensures the mDrive automated manual transmission is using the most fuel-efficient gear when tackling the hill.

"Mack has consistently introduced new systems to better manage fuel consumption," Mack Trucks US president Dennis Slagle says.

"mDrive already offers customers increased fuel efficiency and reduced driver fatigue.

"Mack Predictive Cruise is the next step in the evolution, adding another dimension of intelligence."

The solution doesn’t require a constant GPS connection to recognise a hill, Mack says, rather a "short connection to GPS" is enough for it to send a "communication to mDrive, which automatically knows the optimal speed and gear strategy for the upcoming terrain."

When travelling downhill, the system knows when the road will flatten out and is therefore able to ensure the truck maintains its speed by utilising kinetic energy and the engine brake.

Mack says the system takes speed, engine load, weight, and the road gradient into account to improve fuel economy.

"Mack Predictive Cruise offers the most benefit in highway applications and on hilly terrain, when fuel is often wasted," Russoli says.

"A driver may select to downshift because he or she may not be sure if the truck will make the grade, but Predictive Cruise has already stored the hill in its memory and has planned the best strategy for optimal fuel economy."

While the Mack engines and transmissions will be available in the US throughout 2016, Australian dates are yet to be announced.


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