Peterbilt’s Model 579 is new from the ground up


Forged from the most extensive, rigorous product development process in the company’s history, Peterbilt Motors Company, last week, unveiled its all-new Model 579.

Featuring all-new innovations - from head-turning styling that is optimized for superior fuel efficiency to an interior that down to its last detail facilitates operator comfort and productivity, “the 579 exceeds the needs of fleet managers and drivers alike,” said Bill Kozek, Peterbilt general manager and Paccar vice president.

“The all-new 579 goes beyond meeting a market demand for an exceptional vehicle that satisfies both the bottom-line and operator expectations,” he added. “The 579 integrates legendary Peterbilt quality and innovation with a product platform that delivers in every aspect of vehicle performance, productivity and safety.

“From optimized cab dimensions to an enhanced chassis design, and from driver amenities to a revamped electrical system - every design element of the 579 was analyzed and engineered to provide real-world benefits and business solutions that exceed industry trends.”


New styling

While the look is unmistakably Peterbilt, the 579 features distinctive new styling that goes far deeper than just exterior beauty. According to Landon Sproull, the company’s chief engineer, performance and productivity drove the design process.

“Maximizing fuel economy was a priority and we achieved best-in-class aerodynamic efficiency through Computational Fluid Dynamics and subsequent wind tunnel testing,” he said.

“The 579’s interior design process was no less exacting than the aerodynamic exterior, and the results are a lineup of trim packages and driver amenities that are unmatched in the industry.”

The cab structure is a new design that features greater strength and enhanced safety. The 2.1 meter-wide, aluminum cab is strong, solid and lightweight.


Aerodynamic performance

Aerodynamic performance is enhanced through modular aero packages that meet the U.S. EPA’s SmartWay designation.

Sproull said the aero packages are designed to meet customer optimized requirements, with variable length chassis fairings, sleeper extenders and rubber flares, under-cab close-outs and under-fairing skirts.

The aerodynamic bumper is a three-piece design so individual sections can be replaced if they are damaged, improving serviceability and reducing costs.

The bumper is available with a molded-in-color finish that eliminates cosmetic issues if it is scratched or damaged and a painted finish that is durable and can be matched to any color.

The aero hood also has a three-piece design that is lightweight, durable and easy to service. It features the company’s most efficient tilt assist system that reduces lift effort to 25 pounds. Incorporated into the hood pivot system are supports that direct energy around the cooling module in the event of certain types of accidents - such as impact with an animal - that minimizes damage and helps allow the operator to drive the truck to a safe location for repairs.

“These improvements enhanced the signature Peterbilt styling elements such as the new chevron-style crown and grille with an oval-mesh pattern,” Sproull said.


Interior elements

“The Model 579’s interior design process was no less exacting than the aerodynamic exterior,” Sproull said, “and the results are a lineup of trim packages and driver amenities that are unmatched in the industry.”

“Hundreds of drivers were consulted during our research and planning to ensure the new cab and sleeper designs met the range of needs for spaciousness, comfort, productivity and efficiency. “The operating environment is designed around the driver and when it is time to rest and relax, the sleeper area is loaded with practical luxuries including ample storage and an integrated entertainment center that can accommodate a 22-inch flat panel television.”

Two cab trim levels are available: the Platinum, a luxurious and elegant interior with woodgrain highlights throughout the cab and sleeper; and the Prestige, an optimal balance between comfort and functionality.

Both are available in a choice of Buckskin Tan and Titanium Gray, with optional Burgundy accents in the Platinum.


The dash

The dash is constructed from a soft, durable material and has an integrated tray for convenient storage of often-used items. The dash shell, kick panels and steering column shroud are made from molded-in-color parts to maintain cosmetic integrity and attractiveness.

The Platinum-level interior includes a passenger-side work surface above the glove box for paperwork and other tasks.

The main instrumentation panel, Sproull said, has easy-to-read gauges that are completely visible through the steering wheel, as is the color, five-inch Driver Information Display which provides a new engine-RPM sweet-spot indicator to help drivers maximize fuel economy and the capability to display virtual gauges. The secondary gauge display area can accommodate six optional gauges or Peterbilt’s SmartNav driver infotainment center.

The standard steering column can be adjusted simultaneously for both tilt and telescoping through an easy-to-use, column-mounted lever.

Two new steering wheels are available: the 18-inch, four-spoke, soft-touch Standard Wheel, and the leather-wrapped Premium Wheel with integrated audio and cruise control buttons.



Peterbilt’s new Evolution seats “strike a perfect balance between comfort and support,” Sproull said. “They have a wide cushion with optimized foam density and provide exceptional lumbar support.”

The Evolution ST seat is standard and can be upgraded with optional heating elements and the premium Evolution LX features two-chamber lumbar support, adjustable side bolsters, adjustable suspension dampening, heating and ventilation options, a swivel option and additional storage pockets.



Productivity, safety, comfort and amenities converge in the pedal package that incorporates pedal position preferences and pedal effort requirements.

“During our extensive interviews, it was clear drivers preferred the feel of a floor-mounted throttle pedal, but they also appreciated the easiness to clean and quiet operation of a hanging-style pedal. So we designed one that captures the best of both worlds - an efficient hanging pedal design with floor-mounted feel and actuation,” said Sproull.


Interior lighting

Less power and longer life are two features of the all-LED interior lighting system that has strategically placed lamps throughout the cab and sleeper, reducing fatigue and providing an updated, contemporary feel.

Both cab and sleeper are heated and cooled by the company’s automatic climate control system that maintains consistent, reliable HVAC performance.


At-rest environment

Recognizing that a driver’s at-rest environment is as important to overall productivity as the operating environment, Sproull said numerous amenities were built into the detachable, sleeper.

“It’s a spacious design that begins with the large entryway between the cab and sleeper that has the roominess and accessibility that one expects from an integrated sleeper. However, as part of the Unibilt family, it is fully detachable for enhanced resale value and increased versatility in second- and third-life operations.”

Among the features of the 579’s sleeper are:

- Wide use of LED lighting.

- Convenient pull-out workstation.

- Abundant side and rear wall cabinet storage. ;

- Wall-to-wall, 85-inch premium mattress - said to be the longest in the industry.

- Liftable bunk for additional storage and service access to HVAC and audio components.

- Optional mid-height refrigerator.

- Optional mounting bracket for a 22-inch flat-panel television that includes an inverter, fourth battery and convenient duplex power outlets.

- DVD/Video game console shelf with cable pass-through to the television and power

- Oversized wardrobe closets

“At the end of the day we wanted the driver to be able to relax and rejuvenate with as many of the comforts and amenities of home as possible,” Sproull said.



Maximum visibility is achieved through a panoramic-style windshield that is also thicker than previous designs for improved noise insulation and chip resistance.

The windshield also improves aerodynamics through integrated encapsulation during the assembly process for superior fit and finish and a durable seal.

If it needs to be replaced, integrated locators in the cab structure facilitate high-quality, time-efficient repairs in the field or the shop.

The cab’s A-pillar design is 20-percent narrower than competitive designs, further improving visibility without sacrificing strength, noted Sproull.



Doors are newly designed with a durable, aluminum double-wall structure that reduces weight. Built to withstand harsh conditions, the new hidden gravity-hinge system requires little effort to close doors and provides an airtight seal upon closing to reduce wind noise.

Rounding out the entry package is a new amber, lower-door LED signature light.



The state-of-the-art forward lighting system produces superior down-road visibility while reducing operator fatigue.

Standard halogen headlamps emit even beam patterns and the fog lamps eliminate hotspots. Separate daytime running lamps maximize headlamp life and improve safety.

The new door-mounted mirrors improve both aerodynamics and visibility.

Among the features of the mirrors are cast aluminum arms and bases, large reflective surfaces, integrated convex mirrors, standard heating elements, optional motorized elements and an airflow-managing shape that virtually eliminates debris build-up, misting and wind noise.

New serviceability improvements include no-tool-necessary glass replacement with one electrical connector.

Electrical system

When redesigning the Model 579’s electrical system, Sproull said the goal was to create a robust architecture that optimized routings.

“Electrical system integrity was a key focus during the development of the 579. The result is an all-new system that includes innovative protection and routing design elements.”

Additional electrical system enhancements include angled dress covers that reduce pin tension and provide additional protection to connections and routing troughs.

Sproull said the cab electrical and air connections, air intake filter, A/C service ports and fresh-air filter are mounted to the firewall for easy access.

“But perhaps the most innovative improvement to the electrical system are the new electric-over-air rocker switches that enable critical interlocks. Not only does this technology remove air plumbing from the dash, it ensures the correct operation settings of critical systems.”

Chassis design

The backbone of the Model 579 is a new chassis design that is lightweight, stiff and incorporates exceptional maneuverability.

“The turning radius and the ride and handling characteristics provide superior operability and performance,” said Sproull. “Through angled gear installation, wheel cut is optimized for exceptional curb-to-curb turning.

Even though the chassis weight is reduced, its stiffness was increased by 10 to 15 percent to improve ride-and-handling performance and reduce in-cab noise.

New chassis systems routings for the air and fuel lines enhance ease of serviceability and reduce repair times, as do separation of key air, fuel and diesel emissions fluid lines and electrical wiring.

The 579 comes standard with front air-disc brakes and the Bendix Electronic Stability Control system.

“The Model 579 has a secure place in the legendary lineup of Peterbilt vehicles,” said Kozek.

“It is a true cross-platform vehicle that will appeal to both the passion and sensibilities of a wide range of customers across numerous applications and market segments.”