Is Walmart Serious About Sustainable Transportation?

The micro-turbine electric drive for the Walmart Sustainable Transportation
The micro-turbine electric drive for the Walmart Sustainable Transportation

Walmarts Efforts Around Sustainable Transportation.

However you feel about Walmart. Love them or hate them, their initiative to reduce emissions associated with outbound shipping is worth a look. The technologies that they have brought together along with their industry partners is very interesting.

In this futuristic looking 18 wheeler, designed by the team, several new technologies are being used to produce a vehicle that has zero diesel emissions and can run on several types of alternative fuels.

The cockpit of the walmart sustainable transport truck

The cockpit of the walmart sustainable transport truck

The 53 foot trailer is made of 53 ft long single sheets of carbon fiber that reduce the vehicle weight by 4000 lbs. Carbon fibre is ten times stronger than steel but a fraction of it’s weight.

Each 53 ft panel is single piece of carbon fibre

Each 53 ft panel is single piece of carbon fibre

The Future For Sustainable Transportation.

The cab owes it’s aerodynamic lines to the choice of powerplant. The vehicle uses a micro-turbine that can be powered by alternative fuels to produce electricity to the all electric drive system. Since there is no need for a radiator to cool the system, the nose of the cab can be highly aerodynamic shaped.

The cockpit of the walmart sustainable transport truck

The cockpit of the walmart sustainable transport truck

There is also no need for oil as the entire powerplant is air cooled.

There is no mention of what the cost of this vehicle may be, when in mass production. It should be interesting to see if Walmart follows up on this design with a road ready fleet. Hopefully it is not just a marketing gimmic to make us think more highly of them as a sustainable company.

View from the cockpit of the all electric 18 wheeler concept

View from the cockpit of the all electric 18 wheeler concept

What is your opinion of this technology and/or Walmart’s commitment to sustainable transportation? For example, this video is from 2 years ago. Have you seen any on the highways in the U.S?

About Gordon Smith
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.

1 Comment

  • Bob says:

    I would like to see you do a new story on the progress made (or not made) by Wal-Mart to reduce the energy use of its fleet since around 2004. I think the recommendtions and information from Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute would be a good starting place. What were the targets, and what progress has been made? The new truck shown in the video may not be on the highways yet, but is Wal-Mart moving forward with it? What progress has been made thus far and how was it achieved? I recall a significant change a few years back which was to eliminate the need for these long haul truckers to run their diesel engines while parked.
    I read your e-magazine to get current news/facts. Please continue to provide them, and thank you for doing so!

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