DETROIT. During an event this week hosted by Detroit at its manufacturing facility here, Tim Tindall, director-engine & component sales for Detroit, took a few minutes to update the assembled media on the current testing status of Freightliner’s Cascadia Evolution tractor.

According to Tindall, there are currently 40 Evolution tractors in customers’ hands at this point. Thirty of those are running the new DD15 engines in sleeper configuration and 10 are operating on DD13 engines in a day-cab configuration. This is just the first phase of the testing process before the new tractor becomes available next year.

“All of these trucks are equipped with the visibility package [which is part of Virtual Technician], so we can look at fuel consumption at anytime on any of these customer trucks,” Tindall said.

To date, Tindall said the results are showing a 6.7% fuel economy improvement over “original” Cascadia models meeting 2010 EPA emissions standards. “We are very encouraged and the customers involved in this are very encouraged,” Tindall added.

During the Mid-America Trucking Show, Freightliner said the new Evolution would achieve up to a 7% fuel economy improvement, so the fact that the early customer trucks are achieving 6.7% in real-world operation has Detroit officials extremely pleased at this point.

The next phase of the truck demonstration project will take place with the delivery of 61 additional Evolution models in September, Tindall said. Of those, 26 will include the DD15 engine with 16 of those also running the new Detroit DT12 transmission. The remainder will include DD13 engines in day-cab configurations.

“The program is aimed at showing that the truck does what we say it does and that the reliability is what we say it is,” Tindall said.

Also at the event this week, Detroit officials showed off their 3.2-million sq. ft. manufacturing facility, which produces engines, axles and transmissions, and announced the Detroit Tour Trailer will be hitting the road this summer, visiting dealerships and trade shows.

The trailer, which is pulled by a 2013 Cascadia Evolution, showcases the complete line of Detroit products and includes interactive displays and videos.

Inside, there is a DD15 engine, Detroit steer and tandem axles, and a DT12 automated manual transmission. The trailer also has several new informational videos and interactive components, including a touchscreen feature that enables customers to view the wide range of vocations and trucks where Detroit engines and components can be found. An interactive walkthrough of Detroit Virtual Technician is also part of the rolling display.