DAF has built a prototype 12 tonne distribution truck that uses a new chassis design to cut the kerb weight by about half a tonne.
The project, which was part funded by the government’s Innovate UK scheme, uses aluminium extrusions to reduce the weight of the chassis while maintaining stiffness.
Side and cross members, parts of the wheel suspension, the floor of the body and even the Front Under-run Protection are made of aluminium on the Future Truck Chassis Concept (FTCC).
The FTCC is based on DAF’s LF-series and built by Leyland Trucks in cooperation with Sapa Profiles UK and CSA Group.
The Front Under-run Protection is mounted on a patented front frame module. This module is smartly attached to the side members, as these don’t go to the very front of the vehicle, allowing optimal packaging.
Another patented innovation is the body floor structure being integrated in the chassis frame design, by incorporating the body sub-frame into the main chassis side members.
The project included a number of other features such as independent front air suspension with rack and pinion steering, to investigate its benefits in terms of ride quality, steering precision and vehicle packaging improvements.
Leyland Trucks senior engineer Rob Lawton, said: “Light weighting is at the heart of our global efforts to reduce fuel consumption and thus emissions. Increasing payload without loss of vehicle integrity is fundamental to that process. Our FTCC project has achieved our objectives: a 30 per cent weight saving focused on the components used in the main truck chassis frame, body under structure, front suspension and steering.’
DAF describes the FTCC as a study model, which won’t be on the market on short notice. “However, it shows innovations which might be considered for the future if financially feasible as well.”