Wednesday, February 4, 2009

LoneStar stars in ‘Wired’

It’s not often that seemingly (and deceptively) mundane technology makes an appearance in Wired, the digital world’s go-to magazine of what’s cool and hot. But that honor belongs to Navistar’s signature large car, the retro-futuristic LoneStar.

In an article titled “An 18-Wheeler That Feels Like Home,” writer Keith Barry describes the design planning that went into the tractor’s spacious interior. The designers had one of those “Doh!” moments, when they realized truckers spend much of their lives in their rigs, and that for many the experience, well, sucks.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Land Line about designing cab and sleeper interiors, and it’s heartening to see that the industry is beginning to approach the complex problem with some new eyes in their factory products.

The custom sleeper builders have long taken the approach that a sleeper is a living area, a small apartment really, and not a glorified pop-up trailer. And my friend and OOIDA member Dave Henry has gone them one better, at least for Kenworths, with his sleek, wider and roomier custom studios. Click here to check them out.

The next threshold for every sleeper builder will be to provide efficient, lightweight and reliable auxiliary power to reduce idling. We’ve reduced emissions through a man-on-the-moon kind of intense focus on the problem; wouldn’t it be swell if Wired was able to report on a successful aux power program in a year or so?