Photos, video: Peterbilt, Great Dane concept truck for Walmart unveiled

| March 27, 2014

Though video of Walmart’s concept truck — the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience — began making rounds on tech sites a few weeks ago, the company officially announced its existence in Louisville, Ky., this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Click here to see video below of the concept truck.

In addition to the teardrop shaped body that’s supposed to improve aerodynamics by 20 percent over conventional models, it has a fuel-neutral turbine engine, meaning it can run on diesel, gasoline, natural gas and  biofuels among other sources, says Elizabeth Fretheim, director of business strategy sustainability in Walmart’s logistics wing.

Fretheim said the project began taking shape about four years ago, when Walmart representatives saw a concept truck on display at a truck show in Germany.

The company then wanted to “make something bolder, more transformative” for itself, Fretheim said, so they sought they help of partners Peterbilt and Great Dane, who built the truck and trailer, respectively, for Walmart.


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There’s no word yet on what type of fuel economy numbers the truck posts, because Walmart won’t start track testing the truck until this summer, Fretheim said.

Walmart also partnered with other industry manufacturers like Allison, SAF Holland and Grote for the project.

The truck’s cab has been placed over the engine, shortening its wheelbase and reducing weight. It’s also closed up the gap between the trailer and truck — a sticking point of aerodynamics in today’s models.

Its turbine engine uses hybrid power, with the electric motor and energy storage handling acceleration and deceleration, and producing low emissions without aftertreatment.

The trailer’s body is made almost entirely of carbon fiber, cutting the weight by about 4,000 pounds, Walmart says.

Fretheim says though a truck like this may not go to market for some time, if ever, the technologies of the truck are its key sticking points.

See the video below from Walmart about the truck.

  • jon

    Interesting that the trailer is made by Great Dane.

  • Elvee

    Once again we’re hearing about carbon fiber or fiberglass bodies, what about roll cages, airbags and other safety equipment to protect us? Cutting the weight is important, but so is walking away from a crash.

  • David Fleming

    I don’t think the average driver will have that until it’s proven safe, driven a million miles and cost effective. If you think everyone is going to get one, I think you might be wrong.

  • James

    Kinda figures that Wal-Mart would be getting involved in the design of a truck like this. Imagine how using these trucks would increase their profit margin! Oh-yeah,it might let them bring their prices down a little,too. I read it that these trucks would be made FOR Wal-Mart.Am I wrong?

  • James

    The main reason carbon fiber isn’t used more is that it’s EXPENSIVE. To its credit though,it’s strong enough to lend considerable structural support,lessening the need for roll bars,etc.

  • Chuck Guintard

    Peterbilt built!

  • Mike64

    They cut the weight by 4000 pounds on the trailer, but what happens when you get into some strong cross-winds with a light load or empty? Or driving on snow, is there enough weight to hold you down on the road? Looks to be a giant billboard sized windshield, will you cook in the sun like here in the southwest? Where’s the chrome at?! I guess I’m asking too many questions too soon for a unit like this.

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    Shows ya just how much money Wal-Mart can spend on trying to save more money to make more money the hell with the employees what happened to made in America. 97% of junk sold at Wal-Mart is from china made by SLAVES America don’t allow slavery here but they will allow corporate America to do so cause they have deep pockets with a lot of lobbyist dirtbags helping them I hope they invest billions in this piece of junk and the trailers get beat to hell by all the disgruntled employees and the trucks break down.

  • Cpl. Keays

    I have idea of a concept truck, that I have been trying to get built in the last 13 years. But, I’ve always been told that it won’t work out here. Then the World of Wally comes up w/ a concept truck idea & everyone jumps to it. I think I’ll have to get rich like Wally or hopefully find an investor or 2. Everyone have a great weekend at MATS & God Bless.

  • Travis Powell

    I agree

  • Joe Beasley

    Chrome doesn’t get you home…

  • Jerry

    Hate to break it to you, but that 4000lbs will be extra payload. With big rigs, Weight savings = more cargo. They will roll the truck with the GCWR as close to 80klbs as they can get.

  • Timm45

    One ugly arse piece of shite. Overdrive did an article back in the 70’s about a truck that was called a “cab under”. As hideous looking as that prototype was,it still looked better than this. Who’s gonna drive this? Han Solo. Buck Rogers? Sorry folks. We ain’t concerned about safety here. Yeah old man Walton is rolling in his grave about now.

  • John Thaxton

    By the time this is on the road there will be autonomous trucks, so no one will be driving them, so no need for driver safety, or comfort. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.