Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unveiled a concept tractor-trailer Feb. 17 during a meeting to report on progress in meeting the company’s sustainability goals.
The Wal-Mart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) features a microturbine hybrid power train and the first-ever trailer made from lightweight carbon fiber, plus a radically designed truck cab in which the driver sits in the center of the vehicle with electronic controls on either side and an entry door that slides open.
Vendors who helped assemble the vehicle, which company officials are calling Jetson, include Peterbilt Motors Co., Great Dane Trailer and Capstone Turbine Corp.
Chris Sultemeier, executive vice president and head of corporate transportation services for Wal-Mart, said the company also has agreed to buy 2,000 hydrogen-fueled forklift trucks for use in its U.S. and Canadian distribution centers.
In 2005, Wal-Mart set a goal of doubling the efficiency of its truck fleet by 2015. Sultemeier said the company has reached 80% of its goal by buying more fuel-efficient trucks and finding ways to ship more goods in less space and using fewer trucks.
In Canada, Wal-Mart is testing a super-high-capacity tractor trailer that carriers 40% more merchandise than a standard 53-foot tractor-trailer.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also is testing vehicles that run on waste grease and natural gas, plus several models that use diesel and hybrid-assist technologies to reduce fuel consumption.
Wal-Mart ranks No. 4 on the Transport Topics’ Top 100 Private Carriers list with more than 6,500 tractors and over 61,000 trailers.