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MACK® mDRIVE™ Extends Benefits of Mack Pedigreed® Components to Automated Manual Transmissions

LOUISVILLE, KY, (March 25, 2010) – Mack Trucks, Inc. today unveiled the MACK® mDRIVE™, its new automated manual transmission (AMT). The mDRIVE AMT gives customers up to 1.5% improved fuel efficiency, better driveability and enhanced driver satisfaction by automating gear shifting, while improving safety.

The MACK mDRIVE is designed and engineered to work exclusively with MACK MP series engines. It will be available on MACK® Pinnacle™ model highway tractors powered by the MP7 and MP8 engines. Customers may order the new mDRIVE now, with deliveries to begin early in the fourth quarter of this year.

The mDRIVE was one of several engine and powertrain-related announcements Mack made during the 2010 Mid-America Trucking Show. Mack also introduced the new C150/151 family of rear axles, with new gear ratios tailored for the MP series of engines, as well as new Econodyne engine ratings to maximize fuel economy.

“mDRIVE boldly expands Mack’s leadership in heavy-duty powertrains,” said Kevin Flaherty, Mack senior vice president, sales and marketing. “To be considered Pedigreed®, the engine, transmission and axles must be all Mack, providing performance and fuel economy second to none. Our customers told us they wanted a Pedigreed-quality AMT and Mack is stepping up with the mDRIVE. Because we build trucks with integrated components, we deliver trucks exactly fitted to customer applications. It’s what we refer to as Balanced Design. The entire vehicle is more reliable and performs better because each component is designed in concert with the others.”

mDRIVE Specifics
The Mack mDRIVE has 12 forward and four reverse speeds, and is available in direct drive or overdrive. It has a torque capacity of 1920 lb-ft and a dry weight of 615 pounds. The shifting strategy for mDRIVE is optimized for North American highway conditions and is based on cruise speeds of 1350 to 1450 rpm for best performance and fuel economy.

The driver interacts with mDRIVE through a dash-mounted control pad containing manual input and hold shift buttons, with an integral display indicating the current gear. In addition, the Mack Co-Pilot driver display in the center of the instrument panel provides the driver with transmission status, including the number of upshifts or downshifts available, the current gear and the current operating mode (such as Economy or Performance).

The transmission’s Economy mode maximizes time spent in top gear, while Performance mode maximizes gradeability. An additional MackCellerator or kick-down feature drops the transmission one gear (while synchronizing engine RPM) when the accelerator pedal is sharply depressed beyond its detent to maximize acceleration in passing situations. mDRIVE also provides an optional Grade Gripper or hill start assist when launching the truck on an incline, to prevent the vehicle from rolling backward. It also detects if the tractor is attached to a trailer and automatically reduces torque output if the tractor is bobtailing, which saves fuel.

mDRIVE is available in two versions: Fleet and Premium. The Fleet package includes basic shifter controls, with Grade Gripper and MackCellerator as options. The Premium package consists of a shifter with more features for greater driver control, including manual shift inputs, performance and economy modes, plus Grade Gripper and MackCellerator. mDRIVE is available with two optional rear-mounted power takeoffs (PTO).

An important aspect of mDRIVE is the sophistication of its programming. For instance, the optional Easy Shift feature provides especially smooth shifting for liquid bulk, livestock and similar applications, where abrupt moves need to be avoided.

mDRIVE also addresses a customer concern with other AMTs by allowing the truck to start in higher gears than first if conditions warrant (many drivers find it irritating to have to rev through all gears as the truck gains speed, rather than block shifting as mDRIVE allows).

In addition, Mack’s AMT has an extensive list of customer-programmable parameters and functions, so transmission performance can be dialed in for a specific customer application.
Other notable mDRIVE features include:

  • Cruise’n Brake, which limits engine brake operation while in cruise control until the target speed has been reached
  • Gear selection adjustment in auto mode, which allows the start gear and driving gear to be manually selected using the Premium shifter
  • Low Speed Modulation control, which enables clutch management at very low vehicle speeds when using the brake pedal to control vehicle speed, such as when backing into a loading dock or driving onto a weigh scale
  • Customer predefined splitter position when engaging PTO operation
  • Auto Neutral, which automatically shifts the transmission to neutral if the engine has been shut off while in gear or after four minutes of idling with the parking brake applied; this prevents stalling and reduces the load on the transmission.

“Customers who have tested mDRIVE tell me this is one very smart transmission,” said David McKenna, director of powertrain sales and marketing. “mDRIVE’s intelligence, its light weight and its intuitive performance help customers achieve up to an additional 1.5% improvement in fuel economy, while making drivers happier. And the fact that drivers don’t have to worry about shifting means they are more focused on driving, with their eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel, which enhances highway safety.”

According to McKenna, there are several categories of customers who will find mDRIVE very attractive. Bulk haulers and fuel delivery fleets will benefit from the lightweight 11-liter MACK MP7 – mDRIVE combination, especially with the Easy Shift and PTO flexibility. This combination will also appeal to rental and lease fleets, both daycab and sleeper tractors, since mDRIVE dramatically simplifies driver training and equipment familiarization.

When spec’ed with the Mack MP7-405E, the 13-liter MACK MP8-415E, MP8-445E or MP8-505E, mDRIVE shines for truckload and regional fleets that demand maximum fuel economy in a lightweight package. mDRIVE operation is integrated with the PowerLeash engine brake to control road speed and increase miles per gallon.

The MACK® mDRIVE™ automated manual transmission is designed to bring even higher levels of fuel efficiency, driveability and performance to the MACK® MP7 and MP8 series engines. The mDRIVE has 12 forward and four reverse speeds, while its sophisticated programming includes numerous features to deliver the full advantage of Mack’s integrated engine and powertrain combination to customers.

Dedicated to quality, reliability, and total customer satisfaction, Mack Trucks, Inc. has provided its customers with innovative transportation solutions for more than a century. Today, Mack is one of North America’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks and MACK® trucks are sold and serviced through an extensive distribution network in more than 45 countries. Mack trucks and diesel engines sold in North America are assembled in the United States. Mack manufacturing locations are certified to the internationally recognized ISO 9001 standard for quality and ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems. Mack is also a proud sponsor of Share the Road, an American Trucking Associations' public information campaign aimed at enhancing the safety of our nation’s roadways.

Mack Trucks, Inc. is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and is one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs about 96,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. Volvo Group sales for 2009 amounted to approximately $29 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.

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