Helping Freightliner rack up 500,000 kilometres in the early R&D phase of the Freightliner Cascadia convinced Maktrans owner Rob Hannemann to buy one.
Maktrans played a key role in the local test program of the right-hand drive Cascadia, racking up as many miles as possible in a 126 Cascadia with a B-double tanker trailer set.
That unit is still collecting data in the Maktrans fleet, hitting the half-million kilometre mark just before a new Cascadia 126 was purchased through Daimler Trucks Toowoomba.
Maktrans Director, Rob Hannemann, says the Cascadia test truck performed extremely well running at 68.5 tonnes on roads across regional Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, including dirt tracks into many farms.
"All the drivers comment on how quiet and comfortable the Cascadia is. It has absolutely no rattles or squeaks whatsoever,” Mr Hannemann said. “We've not had an ounce of trouble with it," he added.
The new Cascadia 126, which features a 600hp 16-litre six-cylinder Detroit DD16 engine linked to a 12-speed DT12 automated transmission, has impressed Mr Hannemann with its fuel consumption. He reckons it’s the most efficient conventional truck in the mixed Maktrans fleet.
“The leap in technology we see in the new Cascadia is certainly delivering economic gains,” he says. “It’s getting 1.9km per litres at 68.5 tonnes. A lot of that work on the New England highway, which knocks your fuel numbers around a bit.”
The safety technology of the Cascadia was also central to the purchase decision. Features include a driver airbag, radar-based advanced emergency braking system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and Sideguard Assist, which uses radar to detect people, cars and other objects down the side of the truck when it is about to move left into a lane or turn left.
“Safety is central to what we do at Maktrans, so the level of active safety in the Cascadia is very important to us,” Mr Hannemann said.
Driver comfort and helping them remain well-rested is also important at Maktrans.
"We try and provide a good quality of life for drivers," Mr Hannemann said. "The spacious, comfortable interior of the Freightliner (with 48-inch XT cab) certainly goes a long way in providing a home-away-from-home for our drivers. Having space and comfort in the truck is important for these long hauls,” he added.
Mr Hannemann says the driver acceptance of the Cadcadia has exceeded all expectations. “All our drivers have high praise for it," he said.
The Cascadia is ‘beautiful’ on the road, Mr Hannemmann says, describing it as ‘extremely comfortable’ and ‘easy-to-drive,’ with lots of usable torque.
The Maktrans fleet also features a Mercedes-Benz Actros, which shares much of the same technology as the Cascadia.
Chosen for A-Double work, the Actros has been a welcome addition to the fleet. "The Actros is a perfect fit, and it partners seamlessly with our Freightliners," he explained.
Both the Detriot-powered products are proving reliable, which is important given Maktrans is delivering essential fuel.
"In this business, there are no fail options; uptime is everything because there are a lot of people who depend on us," Mr Hanneman concluded.
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