Right-hook Cascadia test truck stars for Freightliner

In Freightliner, News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMay 16, 2019

Freightliner has revealed the first right-hand drive Cascadia test truck at the Brisbane Truck Show.

It is part of a growing Australian fleet that makes up part of an exhaustive Freightliner test programme being held on both sides of the Pacific.

The testing is part of a $100 million right-hand drive development programme for Australia and New Zealand markets.

Freightliner is confident the Cascadia, which is the best-selling truck in the United States, will set a new standard for safety, efficiency and driver experience for bonneted trucks in Australia when it goes on sale next year.

The RHD 126 Cascadia test truck, which features a 36” XT sleeper, has been working hard as a B-double tanker to properties throughout South Western Queensland and North Western New South Wales, delivering fuel to regional farming operations.

It is running double shifts at the maximum legal weight of 68,500kg and will average 350,000km per year. The test route means the Cascadia test truck is tackling an 8 percent gradient hill every day.

The 126 features a 16-litre Daimler-developed Detroit six-cylinder engine producing 600hp coupled with a 12-speed automated transmission.

Freightliner Australia Pacific director Stephen Downes says it is great to see the RHD Cascadia test truck operating in Australia.

“It‘s very exciting to see the first right-hand drive Cascadia test truck toiling hard on Australian roads,” he says.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring the Cascadia arrives in showrooms next year ready for Australia‘s unforgiving conditions, and wanted to let the public in on this unprecedented test programme,” Downes says.

Freightliner also presented two left-hand drive Cascadia models that have been consistently working since the middle of last year. They have been equipped with camera and monitor technology to enable them to safely operate on public roads and gather data. Freightliner engineers in Portland, Oregon are able to monitor the data generated by all the test trucks operating in Australia and the United States in real time.

The new generation Freightliner Cascadia was subjected to several million kilometres of gruelling testing before it was introduced in the United States in 2017.

Freightliner continues testing the new model around the clock with a team of more than 50 drivers departing the Portland headquarters every day for the sole purpose of racking up kilometres for reliability and durability testing.

While Freightliner Australia works on the test programme for Cascadia, it also continues to evolve existing trucks in its expansive portfolio.

In Brisbane, it featured two existing models that have received significant upgrades to improve the ownership experience, including a CL 112 agitator and the Coronado 114 short wheelbase tipper.

Freightliner has introduced Electronic Stability Control as an option for the CL 112 agitator model, representing a major safety upgrade for the popular truck.

It has also recently introduced a Coronado 114 short wheelbase tipper, developed in response to local demand, which now fits within a 19-metre envelope with a dog trailer in tow.

This means the Coronado tipper can run as a general access vehicle at 50.5 tonnes and enables PBS level 2 route access running at 57.5 tonnes.