Kenworth is introducing the Bendix eTrac Air Bag Transfer System for 6x2 suspensions on select models of Kenworth Class 8 trucks.
"With one 'live' drive axle, trucks with 6x2 axle configurations can offer significant weight savings as well as fuel economy improvements over that of a truck with a traditional 6x4 axle configuration," said Kevin Baney, Kenworth chief engineer.
The Bendix eTrac system will be available on the Kenworth T660, T680, T800 and W900 in May.
The tandem drive axle on a 6x2 axle truck has no inter-axle driveline or rear differential. Because of that, it has fewer gears, and as a result, weighs several hundred pounds lighter and experiences fewer parasitic losses for improved fuel economy. The combination of a 6x2 tandem axle configuration and wide-base tires may provide a significant fuel economy improvement, which will vary depending on use, road conditions and other factors.
"The Bendix eTrac system links into the Bendix ABS braking system with automatic traction control (ATC) and electronic stability programming. This system automatically engages and disengages – without driver input – the vehicle's airbag pressure transfer system, transferring pressure from the non-drive to the drive axle when it recognizes wheel slip. This provides improved fuel efficiency in a lighter package combined with on-demand traction," Baney said.
"We expect the traction-boosting technology provided by the Bendix eTrac system will greatly interest Kenworth's customers," said Erik Johnson, Kenworth on-highway manager. "Customers can benefit from fuel economy improvements and the lighter weight of 6x2 suspensions, in addition to enhanced traction."
The Bendix eTrac system protects the drivetrain by automatically disengaging after a low-traction event or when the vehicle's resumed speed exceeds 25 mph. The system also allows for manual activation at speeds below 10 mph, or when a vehicle's ATC mud/snow switch is enabled.
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