The Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system is now an available option on 6x2 Class 8 tractors from both Kenworth and Peterbilt.

The eTrac system is for vehicles with the Bendix ABS-6 braking systems with automatic traction control. The system helps drivers automatically overcome low-traction events.

Switching to the system enables fleets, when appropriate, to switch their traditional 6x4 tractors and trucks with lighter weight 6x2s, potentially expanding their freight hauling capacities by approximately 500 lbs, Bendix said.

The Bendix eTrac air transfer system fully automates the traditional manual air pressure transfer process. According to the company, unlike a manual system, eTrac can respond in fractions of a second to a low-traction situation, offering real-time adjustment. When added to Bendix Smart ATC (automatic traction control), eTrac automatically engages and disengages – without driver input – the vehicle’s air bag pressure transfer system during low-traction events. The system transfers pressure from the undriven axle to the driven axle without requiring manual input or driver action.

When eTrac engages, it automatically evacuates air bag pressure, dropping the nose of the trailer. The resulting extra forward weight on a 6x2 tractor helps compensate for the lack of a second drive axle to deliver traction control that is comparable to a 6x4 tractor in many situations.

“Both Kenworth and Peterbilt continue to make a strong commitment to enhancing the driving experience for fleet owners and operators. And offering Bendix eTrac on 6x2 tractors and trucks reinforces this approach,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. “The automated air transfer process of the Bendix eTrac system helps drivers direct more of their focus on driving and road conditions, as opposed to making manual adjustments to overcome low-traction events.”

The Bendix eTrac system will be available on the Kenworth T660, T680, T800, and W900 in May 2013. The system will be available on all 6x2 Class 8 models from Peterbilt.