As reported by ATN last month, truck manufacturer Freightliner has started an Australian test and development program for the new Cascadia, as the company adapts the vehicle for a right-hand drive market.
Valuing the program at $100 million, Freightliner parent company Daimler Trucks says the right-hand drive development program is part of testing for the truck’s entry to the Australian and New Zealand markets, with trucks expected to go on sale in early 2020.
The launch date of the Cascadia will coincide with the departure of the Argosy cab-over from Australian showrooms, as Daimler announced last month.
The first test trucks are left-hand drive and have been equipped with camera and monitor technology to enable them to safely operate on public roads and gather data before a number of right-hand drive models join the program.
Freightliner Australia director Stephen Downes says the testing program is designed to ensure the vehicles can handle Australian roads and that the best specifications are selected.
“We all know Australian trucks run harder, faster and in hotter conditions, so we are conducting a test and development program that is far more comprehensive than anything Freightliner has done in this country,” he says.
The testing program will also coincide with additional research and development done by the Daimler Trucks North America team, with Daimler Truck and Bus Australia CEO Daniel Whitehead saying the investment was proof of the company’s seriousness about the Australian market.
“DTNA also understands that an extensive local testing and development program is critical for the success of the new Cascadia and has given us its full support,” he says.
The new generation Freightliner Cascadia was subjected to several million kilometres of gruelling testing before it was introduced in the United States last year.
The company is still testing the new model around the clock, with a team of more than 50 drivers departing the Portland Oregon headquarters every day for the sole purpose of racking up kilometres for durability testing.
Article courtesy of ATN: www.fullyloaded.com.au/daimler-confirms-cascadia-aussie-test-program