Hey, it's been awhile since we talked Wal-Mart right? They report having achieved a 15% improvement in transportation efficiency and are headed to 25% and beyond. Moreover, their progress is going to drive the competition and independent shippers to take similar steps. For background, check out an earlier post we did on one of the long-term truck design changes that will help Wal-Mart meet a stretch goal beyond 25%.
Back to the present: Wal-Mart says it is already well under way to meet its transportation efficiency goals. Its "fleet of about 7,200 semi-tractor trailer trucks is already about 15% more fuel efficient and the company knows what changes it needs to make to meet a target of 25% by late next year. The annual savings in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, would be equal to taking 67,744 cars off the road."
"The 15% gain has come mainly from three changes: A fuel additive mix, more fuel-efficient tires and small diesel generators called Alternate Power Units added to tractors to provide power for things like heating and air conditioning in the cab, allowing the big truck engine to be turned off rather than idling when the truck is parked."A spokesman said ""the biggest piece of the solution will come from future hybrid diesel-electric engines." Wal-Mart is pitching in $2 million a year for research and development by two teams of national truck manufactures - International Truck with ArvinMeritor Inc. (ARM) and Peterbilt with Eaton Corp. (ETN) - and has agreed to buy the prototypes."
"Wal-Mart is also working with Great Dane on prototype trailers that would cut fuel use with the help of aerodynamic designs, including adding a cover or skirting down the sides at the bottom of the truck and crimping the back end of the trailer so that the sides and top turn in."
Via:: Dow Jones News (subscription only). Image credit:: ITPA.