DENTON, Texas. Attendees to the Commitment to Class Customer Event, held over two days by Peterbilt Motors Co. this week in Texas, were treated to a number of product updates from some of the OEM’s biggest suppliers, including Eaton, Bendix, Bridgestone, Cummins, Allison, Michelin and Meritor. While most of the presentations were product specific, there was some news shared, including an update on a potential federal rulemaking on an electronic stability control mandate for commercial vehicles.

Steve Waller, Peterbilt account executive with Bendix, said that the company is expecting a federal rulemaking on electronic braking systems (EBS) in the near future.

“There was a notice of proposed rulemaking put out and the commenting period is now over, so we expect a rulemaking soon,” he said.

Waller added that Bendix is anticipating is that any rule would be phased in. The Bendix Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which would presumably meet any rulemaking, is standard on all Peterbilt Class 8 trucks.

Tony Truelove, marketing communications manager-North America for Eaton, gave an overview of the company’s clutches and vibration control technology (VCT), available on both Solo Pedal and Easy Control clutch products. He also touched on the Eaton Fuller Advantage Automated transmission, which is part of the Peterbilt Apex fuel economy system.

In testing with a Cummins ISX, Truelove said Eaton found a 1.9% fuel economy improvement with a test fleet and a 1.6% improvement in third party testing. “So we are very happy with those numbers,” said Truelove.

The Apex powertrain package features a Paccar MX-13 engine paired with the Eaton Fuller Advantage transmission. The typical truck specs with the Apex powertrain package feature 22.5 in. low-profile tires, a 2.64 rear axle ratio. At 65 mph, the target rpm is 1,150. It also offers a small-step ratio in 9th and 10th gears for more fuel-efficient operation while downshifting.

The vehicle is geared  like a direct drive transmission and can provide up to 3.5% fuel economy improvement on flat roads and 1-2% overall in downsped overdrive gear, said Trevor Lokie, product planning manager-powertrain for Peterbilt.

“It’s a shift strategy and gearset optimized for the MX engine,” Lokie said.

Cummins’ Randy Shaw noted the powerful combination of the Peterbilt 579 and the Cummins-Eaton Smart Advantage transmission.

“The Peterbilt 579 with the Cummins-Eaton Smart Advantage is the most fuel-efficient truck out there today,” Shaw said. “We’ve tested it against all the competitors out there.”

Shaw said the Smart Advantage offers a 3-6% fuel economy boost and a 7% improvement over a 2010 engine without the package. That gain is even more impressive – perhaps 10% or more – over pre-2010 engines, Shaw added.

John Taylor, OEM account manager for Allison Transmission, told the audience that its FuelSense program will be available this July in new bundles of 5th gen controls, load based shift scheduling and low shift speed calculations. The low shift speed calculations include “neutral stop,” which places the vehicle in neutral when stopped to reduce fuel usage and shifts back into gear when the driver depresses the pedal.

The bundles will also feature vehicle acceleration rate management. In all, the FuelSense package produces between a 5% and 20% fuel economy improvement.

Taylor said the FuelSense package will be able to be retrofit onto older vehicles as long as the vehicle has 5th gen controls.

On the tire front, Michelin’s Mark Tiefenthaler, original equipment account manager, announced that its X Multi Energy Z will be available to Peterbilt customers on July 1. The SmartWay tire is for regional operations that need a CARB compliant steer tire, Tiefenthaler said.

The tire is also for those who need a steer tire for linehaul applications in situations where their current steer tire is not holding up. It offers a 15% improvement in rolling resistance over the company’s XZE2 tire, Tiefenthaler said, with no sacrifice in mileage.

The tire will fit for fleets running less than 100,000 mi. annually with operations running within a 500-mi. radius and generally making multiple stops per day.

“If it’s placed [the proper application], you will be satisfied,” Tiefenthaler said, adding that it will provide a nice balance of mileage and durability.

The X Multi Energy Z features a “curb guard” to protect the casing and includes Matrix sipes with zig-zag groove walls.

Meritor’s Terry Tosie, OEM account manager, said that Peterbilt will be the first truck manufacturer to offer the company’s new NFS steer axle.

According to Tosie, in many states, fleets are provided a weight exemption for auxiliary power units, giving the fleet an additional 300 or so pounds. The problem, Tosie said, is that the added weight of the APUs often requires a 13,000 lb. steer axle to handle the extra weight, which costs more because of larger springs.

The answer, Tosie said, is the new NFS, which is a 12,500 lb. capacity axle.