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INTERNATIONAL® 13 INTEGRATED POWERTRAIN

Real-world Testing The International S13 Integrated Powertrain

INTERNATIONAL® 13 INTEGRATED POWERTRAIN

INTERNATIONAL™ TRUCK TAKES AN UNSCRIPTED ROAD TRIP

On February 19-20, International® Truck engineers hit the road in an 8-truck convoy from Corcoran, Minnesota to Lisle, Illinois and finally arriving at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana for a grand total of approx. 600 miles. Along the way, the convoy passed through the iconic “World’s Largest Truck Stop” in Iowa via I-80. This route was carefully selected to mimic a typical run faced by thousands of truckers each and every day. Two International Truck models that offer the S13 Integrated Powertrain were included, the International HX® Series and LT® Series. This drive gave engineers a first-hand view of how International Truck vehicles handle real-world environments. The convoy drove typical speeds, experienced city congestion through Chicago, stopped at a typical truck stop to refuel and even experienced classic upper Midwest February weather.

We sat down with one of the principal organizers of the drive, Mash Angolkar, Sr. Chief Engineer, R&D Operations and 13-year International Truck veteran.

 

How did this drive come about and what were some of the objectives?

What our team does is craft real-world testing experiences for our engineers and the International Truck leadership team. Most of the time it’s at our proving grounds in Indiana, or one of our test sites in Las Vegas, Denver or Fairbanks. A couple of times a year we’ll go out on the road and do a larger trip. In 2023, we coordinated a Summer test from Las Vegas to Denver, Colorado to experience the temperatures, the altitudes, the grades and compare our S13 Integrated Powertrain to other competitor products. Last week we did a winter test that went from Minneapolis through Iowa to Illinois, and eventually to our proving grounds in Indiana. This gave our research and development and engineering teams an exact understanding of what it’s like for our customers in a real-world environment.

How was this experience different than some of the other testing you do?

The majority of the testing and validation we do in research and development is per plan. It’s ‘here’s the objective, here’s the standard, here’s the metric, here’s the prescribed route.’ This was very unscripted. We didn’t know what construction we were going to run into, what route deviations, congestion, or weather. So, it really gave us a true real-world customer experience.

What were some of the things you discovered about the products?

Everybody’s trying to do the same thing: get goods from point A to point B. However, everybody goes about it in a slightly different way. Each of the tractor trailers was loaded to a combined weight of 65,000 to 70,000 pounds which really helped us notice all the nuances with powertrain performance, ride and handling, steering input, driver comfort, and how the vehicle handles with the load in equal scenarios. What we learned is the S13 Integrated Powertrain is performing really well. I think all of us walked away feeling that we’ve really got something here.

What are some of the product changes that are made after these drives?

These drives are all about the refinements. All the big stuff is done. The trucks have already been fully validated. They’re already in production. These drives are all about continuous improvement and innovation. By constantly pushing boundaries, we’re able to deliver the best solutions for our customers. What you pick up are the subtleties of a feature working with another feature, the calibration, the software, determining it is all working as the user would expect. You’re with the truck for 500 miles so you get time to just settle in and just pay attention to the truck, all the little nuances that you normally wouldn’t notice on a shorter drive. The phones are off, you’re not thinking about emails or the next meeting. You’re just experiencing the vehicle.

What were some of the highlights from this drive?

What was different this time around was the collaboration between our engineering teams, our dealer partners and all the people we met along the way. They gave us unfettered access and really treated us like family. In fact, we had an open seat, so a service foreman joined us on the drive. It was such a great experience and we learned a lot. Walking away from this, we all said we need to do something like this again.

What is it like seeing the trucks you helped develop on the road, doing the job they were designed to do?

Knowing what it takes from a product development perspective to be able to get something on the market is exceptionally satisfying for me. It makes me feel proud seeing more International Trucks on the road utilizing the features we were involved with.

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ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL RUN

This test drive is a perfect example of the continuous improvement philosophy at International Truck. Your business is always evolving and so must the trucks you rely on. In many ways, the launch of a new truck or powertrain is just the starting point. Refinements are made, technology is updated, safety features are added, and customer input is processed. It’s because of this philosophy and the exhaustive work by engineers like Mash, that revolutionary new products like the S13 Integrated Powertrain are developed – products that can help power your business forward.

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