In 2018, we started adding the new Cascadia tractor from Freightliner into our fleet. We have been very fortunate to test this tractor with a pre-production model that generated very positive feedback from our operator. The P4 model tractor, as it is called, is now our standard Freightliner model. This tractor has many design improvements related to performance, comfort and design.
As we integrate these new units into our fleet the challenge is to ensure our drivers have the necessary information to utilize all the features for maximum comfort. Right now our Maintenance team is focused on developing media that our drivers can easily access, designed to explain how to operate these features. The first area of focus is the tractor climate control system. To test the results, I recently arranged for a truck and spent the night in our Winnipeg yard using only the new videos produced by the Maintenance team as a guide to set up the truck for my comfort.
The evening forecast was for temperatures to dip to -18 C, not the worst Winnipeg has, but cold enough to be very uncomfortable if I did not set up the truck properly. As this was going to be my first time using this system I was dependant on the instructions to keep me warm. My evening began by downloading the video guide for setting up the heating system for the new tractor. Within five minutes of starting the video I had the temperature set, and the optimized idle adjusted in the tractor. Now it was time to settle in for the evening. The information provided walked me through each step from turning on the system to setting the fan speed as well as the auto-start function for the tractor. While I enjoyed the comforts of the vehicle, the system did its job exactly as advertised, the cabin remained very comfortable and as I prepared to turn in for the night, I double checked the settings to make sure I would continue to be comfortable. Everything looked good so I was off to bed.
During the night the truck started up as designed when the battery power dropped to the threshold level. As this was something I was not used to I have to admit it did wake me, but only for a moment. When I did wake the cabin was still at temperature, the engine was running as designed and right back to sleep I went. This did surprise me because I expected the engine to start but I was not certain the effect it would have on my ability to drift back to sleep.
The cabin on this tractor is very quiet and for a large diesel engine, the Detroit powerplant is as smooth as I have ever experienced. Waking a few hours later, I was satisfied with my first experience sleeping in a tractor. The video explaining the operation and the vehicle performance made for a very good night’s sleep. Mission: accomplished.