The International ProStar Class 8 heavy truck is the result of five years and three hundred million dollars in development and the continuous collaboration of dealer and customer advisory boards. Designed to provide best-in-class fuel economy, driver satisfaction, unprecedented uptime and lowest cost of ownership, the International ProStar is designed for the customer.
"When we set out to build a new standard for line haul tractors, we committed ourselves to providing the customer a product that delivers value in the areas that most drive their business," said Tom Baughman of International's Heavy Truck Group. "We gleaned insights directly from our customers, as well as conducted extensive performance evaluations and competitive benchmarking, to develop a product that uniquely addresses growing marketplace demands for more fuel efficiency, performance and driver accommodation."
Styled with boldly sculpted fenders, a sloped hood to enhance visibility, and streamlined cab and roof shaping, the new International ProStar cuts through air efficiently. Its aerodynamic shape catapults International further ahead of the competition when it comes to crucial fuel economy performance. The aerodynamic design dramatically reduces wind resistance, turning in profit-boosting fuel-efficiency performance.
Key test applications used to achieve the design were Computational Fluid Dynamics, a computerized application used to optimize design in the early stages of the process and 1/8 scale wind tunnel testing for basic shape development. Then, full-scale wind tunnel testing was completed with a trailer attached, which revealed an eight percent drag reduction improvement compared to International's previous best-in-class model.
"Our customers expect us to support them with more economic and emotional value," said Baughman. "That means reducing operating costs in every way possible, and also delivering a vehicle that owners are proud to own and drivers are proud to drive. The new International ProStar will turn heads on the highway and at the pump. Owners will love the way this truck saves money and generates profits, and drivers will love the drivability and comfort we've packed inside."
In particular, drivers will benefit from advanced, integrated ride and handling that is designed to reduce fatigue and improve responsiveness. The seat, the cab, and chassis suspensions have been integrated and tested to complement and enhance vehicle level ride and handling characteristics.
From the quietness of the climate-controlled cab to the massaging seats, drivers are positioned comfortably as they take in the superior view of the road. In-depth ergonomic research, including detailed measurement of hundreds of truck drivers, was used to design the cab and sleeper with maximum comfort, safety and productivity. From the available seat travel, to flexible positioning of the steering wheel, instrument panel gauges and steering wheel-based controls, the International ProStar accommodates the full range of driver sizes.
Also, drivers will feel at home in the comfortable sleeper accommodations, which boast improved fit-and-finish, storage space options, excellent HVAC performance, as well as a roomy feel with more natural light. Designers went on the road with drivers to better understand their requirements for living and sleeping space utilization.
"The integrity and durability of the new International ProStar cab delivers a smoother, quieter ride, minimizing driver fatigue and maximizing productivity," added Baughman. "The objective is for the driver to feel confident, comfortable and secure."
Productivity optimization goes beyond the driver, it also requires a reliable tractor. International's goal of best-in-class reliability drove every design and process improvement.
"We spent a lot of time with customers mining their maintenance records and discussing the top causes of downtime," said Baughman. "Every targeted system improvement has been tracked ongoing from component testing through to vehicle testing to be sure we provide customers a product that stands up to the grueling and time sensitive demands synonymous with line haul applications."
Downtime can be caused by a variety of factors and components, including tires, electrical harnesses, connectors, batteries, air leaks, air brakes and fuel systems, to name a few.
With so many moving pieces to track, the International ProStar has been designed with monitoring, prognostic and diagnostic systems to help fleet managers and drivers better anticipate and handle issues causing downtime.
Since 2004, more than 25 production validation tractors have been on the road accumulating more than six million miles of road testing, including internal test vehicles and customer test units.
The internal test units are subjected to rigorous performance, reliability and accelerated durability tests to ensure longevity for long haul, regional haul and bulk applications. Internal testing includes 10 simulated years of shaker testing and significant corrosion testing.
Finally, test vehicles were put in the hands of customers hauling freight for private carrier and major truckload and LTL for-hire carriers in diverse applications, geographic and climate conditions.
Designed with ease of access for maintainers and a minimal requirement for special service tools, the International ProStar will be in and out of the shop in record time. In total, more than 60 efficient repair and maintenance features have been incorporated. For example, transmission replacement time has been reduced by 90 minutes, headlight bulbs and windshield wiper blades can be replaced by a driver or mechanic without tools. A four-piece bumper allows maintainers to replace only damaged pieces, rather than the whole bumper, in the event of an accident.
Just as ergonomic design was incorporated into the cab to enhance the driver environment; innovations like a low-effort E-Z Tilt hood and a Tilt-Away bumper provide a walk-in engine compartment and allow easy engine and underside access.
International also synchronized service intervals so that customers gain an average of 59 more days on the road over the life of the vehicle.
Initial production will be based on 122" bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) tractors with day cab and high-rise sleeper configurations. The second phase of production will include additional BBC and sleeper configuration options.