With the MachettE zero emission truck concept, Foresee Car Design’s CEO Cornelis Steenstra is showing his vision of where modern transportation should be going. Global warming has been a loudly received warning signal to most industries to shape up or get out. A status quo is no longer a viable option.
Based on the results of the U.S. Government financed Super Truck initiative, participating corporations seemed more interested in using the finances to further develop technologies that they were already working on, rather than take a holistic view, develop a long term strategy and work backwards from there to the best next step in transportation.
Based on the earlier projects Foresee Car Design has been involved with related to long term vision of the durable clean, safe and efficient infrastructure, autonomous transportation of people and goods, and the development of ‘last mile’ distribution options in urban areas, Steenstra felt that the next logical step would be to focus on the mid-range trucks. Given that ultimately the long-distance transportation of goods will no longer be using individual trucks in overland infrastructures that are being shared by personal transportation, this choice seems the obvious one.
Trucks are expensive products which must earn their return on investment every day and every mile. Many trucks in the US market are sold to owner/operators and they should expect the best value for their money. They deserve products they can proudly show off without having to rely on how well polished the chrome wheel covers are. The MachettE represents the future of trucking, using the latest zero emission technology, the best in packaging wrapped in a stunning aerodynamic that elevates 20th century trucking to a new dimension.
With driver ergonomics, safety and comfort as the driving force on the interior, the MachettE uses the extra interior space provided by the rounded plan view of the cab to facilitate a commanding central driver position with plenty of visibility to the front corners of the truck through the lower windows, and perfect vision around and behind it by using the various cameras and the dashboard displays. The central driving position also helped create extra interior space for the swivel passenger seat to offer extendable calf support and a reclining backrest so it can offer rest. There is plenty of space left in the cab for options otherwise found in sleeper cabs only.
The switch to an all-electric power train is inevitable, but the range issues would always be a limitation. Thankfully within our partnership with the Dutch American Coast 2 Coast Alliance there are developments to integrate wireless charging in segments of the road. Both in the Netherlands as well as California suitable test tracks are being set up.
We concluded that equipping 5 mile segments of freeway with this technology would allow for a perfect range extension at a relatively limited cost. Equipping these stretches of freeway with photovoltaic power stations, solar farms, and wind farms, depending on which is more efficient per location, would optimize the clean energy usage substantially.
With that knowledge we considered adapting a conventional ladder chassis to house the power train and batteries needed for a base 400-mile range, which then could be extended to 700+ miles with the wireless charging stretches of freeway. This would allow enough local transportation on a normal charge and the range from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the extended range. That would make it a winner.
Pushing the aerodynamic boundaries even more, it would be ideal to cover the wheels fully. This would avoid a lot of turbulence all around the vehicle and add a safety bonus of preventing the vast amount of spray of dirt and rain which increases safety substantially. The compromise of reducing the front track with 3” was deemed am affordable price for the gains made.
Ideally, we would want the concept to optimize so much more in order to get the best vision for the future of transportation. We decided that given the electric power train and it’s durability, a tilting cab was no longer deemed necessary. Most likely all the main service would be done at a specialized service station where access can be obtained through the various panels as well as from underneath the vehicle. This allowed us to steer away from the age-old ladder chassis and develop an independent unibody chassis, which is lighter in weight and substantially stronger in accidents. This unibody chassis also allows us to get to luxury-brand automotive level tight fit and finishes, even at the more limited production volume associated with trucks. Of course, there will be a price tag for this level of quality, but the reduced cost in service with the zero-emission technology combined with the higher fit and finish will inevitable lead to lower overall costs for the owner/operators.
Lowering operating costs and a clean environment! The best of both worlds!
Foresee Car Design, Inc. is a Southern California based independent car design consultancy founded by renowned car designer Cornelis Steenstra. Initially started in Europe in 1994, Foresee started in California in 2001 and has been executing OEM projects for most of the global manufacturers. Foresee Car Design has become a specialist in using the latest available technologies to ensure an optimal workflow at a creativity inducing and time efficient pace.
Foresee Car Design, Inc. has been involved with a great variety of projects ranging from concept through to production cars, zero emission startup companies, zero emission truck and bus projects as well as complete long-term vision studies of infrastructure for personal and mass transportation as well as the transportation of goods.
Cornelis Steenstra is a national of the Netherlands and has been a Permanent Resident of the United States since 1998. Steenstra gained valuable experiences as designer and senior designer at Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Mazda and as Strategic Design Manager Europe for Hyundai/Kia. As well as his consulting work, Steenstra has been involved with tuition of people interested in the car design profession, development and integration of innovative technologies in the design process and helping the Coast 2 Coast EV Alliance develop in to a permanent entity promoting and adapting clean technologies to ensure a bright future for our children and grandchildren.