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@MATS: Pete spins discs on class 8s; lightweight chassis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Peterbilt is the first North American truckmaker to standardize air disc brakes on all Class 8 models.

Air disc brakes are gaining in popularity as an option to meet NHTSA's upcoming stop distance rules.

"Standard air disc brakes on all our Peterbilt models ensures we are providing all our customers a solution to comply with the government’s reduced stopping distance regulations going into effect this August, as well as a feature that has a positive effect on their bottom line," Bill Jackson, Peterbilt general manager, said at the Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville.

NHTSA's braking standard, set to take effect this August, requires tractor-trailers to be able to come
to a complete stop within 250 feet, down from 355 feet.

At a MATS press conference, Peterbilt also announced a lightweight option package, that includes a variety of weight saving components with day cabs as low as 14,200 lbs, and sleepers down to 15,800 lbs.

(Speaking of day cabs, Peterbilt also announced the immediate availability of its Extended Day Cab – an additional 10 inches wide and 6 inches of added head --for its complete lineup of Class 8 vehicles).

"Legislative requirements have resulted in increased vehicle weight, driving carriers to re-evaluate every component to find a solution that increases operational efficiency," said Jackson.

The package includes:

Composite front springs rated at 12,000 lbs; aluminum cabs with lap seam construction and aluminum bell housing and crossmembers are offered to reduce weight; and aluminum space saver battery box which helps package chassis components to reduce wheelbase requirements.

Also: 

♦ The Holland aluminum top plate, FWAL, in combination with the ILS Slider, said to be the lightest standard duty fifth wheel.

♦ Peterbilt’s FLEXAir suspension, comprised of a lightweight aluminum drive beam and what's said to be the only aluminum rear axle housing unit in the industry. 

♦ And wide-based tires with aluminum wheels for maximum weight savings.

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