With 7000 tractor trailers currently in its fleet, it makes sense that Walmart would have a vested interest in designing more efficient delivery vehicles. The company's new ultra-aerodynamic Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience — or WAVE — concept is lighter and more fuel efficient than other trucks on the market, and can run on almost any fuel short of nuclear power.
Testing has just begun on the WAVE truck, which is powered by a unique micro-turbine hybrid powertrain that's capable of running on diesel, biodiesel, natural gas, and even fuels we haven't come up with yet. And like the Tesla, it can even run like an electric car, relying on just a set of on-board batteries. But its electric-only range is obviously very limited.
The futuristic-looking cab is at least 20 per cent more aerodynamic than the current vehicles in Walmart's fleet, and features a center-mounted driver's seat wrapped in large windows as well as LCD displays providing views around the truck.
But even the WAVE's trailer has been completely redesigned. Made almost exclusively from carbon fibre, including massive 16m panels, it's close to 1800kg lighter than a conventional trailer, but actually has more capacity given its own aerodynamic curves. Which means it can be used to haul more cargo in a single trip.
There's no word on if or when the WAVE might ever become part of Walmart's official fleet. And while it's an initiative that's primarily meant to boost the corporation's bottom line, the innovations and research here could certainly find their way into your next vehicle. [Walmart via Inside EVs]