My experience with the Cascadia Evolution so far has been nothing short of life-changing. One of the many benefits of being a Team Run Smart Pro is showcasing the newest in truck technology around my primary operating area, but aside from that the feedback and results have been awesome. Aside from the fact that this truck is one heck of a head turner, its functionality as a trucking tool is second to none! A lot of “getting used to” was involved in this past month I have had it, but all for the better.
One of the major things I have had to get used to was the lack of a standard transmission. Only ever having driven one truck with any kind of automated transmission, I was skeptical of the switch based on that past experience. The most important thing I had to remember was that this is not an “automatic” it is an “automated” transmission. Yes, if you have it in auto it will do all the work going up and down the gears for you. The difference is in the option to switch to manual mode. Do so and you are in complete control of the shift points without the hassle of having to clutch. I know some out there would say, “This isn’t driving a truck”, but let me assure you that you can be just as involved with this transmission as any other. I can honestly say that I have had everything from an eight-speed to an eighteen and I will continue using the DT12 automated transmission without ever looking back!
Using the OnGuard collision monitoring system (CMS) has taken a little adjusting in my driving habits as well. A lot of people express concerns to me of getting cut off by four-wheelers all the time with this system installed, which happens quite often here in California. If anything, this system has made me an even safer driver with its technology. With the radar sensing technology of monitoring the vehicle in front of the truck, it has allowed me to more closely monitor my following distance and the speed of traffic I am approaching. In dealing with the concern of getting cut off, it really only makes a driver more observant of his/her surroundings. Yes, it will apply the brakes to a certain percentage when a vehicle gets in front of you and slows down, but it will do nothing if that vehicle continues at a higher rate of speed than your own. It makes you keep an eye out for “cut off” situations, thus increasing your awareness. It also has assisted cruise control (ACC), allowing your own cruise control to adjust to the vehicles in front of you, safely maintaining your following distance.
The insulation in the cab is out of this world and unheard of in any other truck that I have driven. This is the first cab that I have been in that I did not have to blast the radio to hear music in or raise my voice to block out background noise while on my Bluetooth. I load and unload in some pretty noisy places at times and have not had the slightest problem catching a few Z’s while they are loading or unloading me. With this insulation, the cab seems to heat up faster with the heater and cool faster with the A/C, as well as require a lower level on the dial to maintain cab comfort while driving. This also rings true when using the Freightliner ParkSmart HVAC system in the sleeper area. Although I have not required its use in an overnight scenario, I can attest that it works very well battling the elements and keeping my naptime comfortable.
The fuel efficiency gains have already been measurable and I am still getting the hang of this truck. I have seen two round-trip runs with a sixty thousand pound average gross weight from Fontana to Bakersfield average 8.0 and 8.1 mpg respectively. The fuel savings continue to advance as I become more familiar with the operation of my Evolution. As I get used to the most efficient ways to operate this truck I am getting better and better mpg readings than I was ever able to attain in any of my previous trucks.
I have been very blessed with the opportunity to have such a remarkable business tool added to my “tool box”. I can already see that it is making an impact and can only forecast that it will continue to decrease my overhead and increase my bottom line. Anyone out there that is desperately clutching onto the “old school” methodology of the way trucks are supposed to run and operate will find themselves soon left behind. Those afraid of or not embracing the introduction of technology into our industry such as the Evolution, are going to get left in the dust. In business it is truly “survival of the fittest” and with my driving of the Evolution I feel as fit as an Olympic athlete! Embrace the technology of the “Evolution Revolution”!