PHOENIX, ARIZONA…“The Business Class® M2 is one of the largest product development projects in Freightliner’s history,” said Michael von Mayenburg, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Technology, Freightliner LLC. “We evaluated every truck system, material and component. We interviewed a wide variety of customers to establish their operational requirements. We committed hundreds of thousands of engineering hours to design, engineering and testing.”
The result, according to von Mayenburg, is a truck that provides customers with tremendous advantages in productivity, efficiency and equipment flexibility.
Designed for Operator Safety, Productivity
One of the key design criteria for the Business Class M2 was to offer drivers and crews the ability to work as safely and productively as possible.
In that pursuit, Freightliner has achieved superior visibility in the Business Class M2.
Freightliner’s engineering team maximized lines of sight on the Business Class M2 by incorporating a huge, 2500-squre inch windshield, lowering the corners of the windshield, lowering the dash and sloping the hood. The result is a reduction of 28% of obstructed ground in front and to the side of the truck and a spectacular view from the cab.
Also contributing to excellent visibility are wide-sweeping wipers and a powerful windshield defroster. New features in the Business Class M2 are standard demister/defogger vents in the interior door panels. The high-capacity vents clear moisture off the side windows, improving the driver’s view of the rear view mirrors and to the sides of the truck.
To further enhance visibility, down-view mirror and city window options on the passenger side also are available, as are hood- and fender-mounted mirrors.
“Medium-duty truck drivers often operate in hectic urban environments, in crowded suburbs or on obstacle-ridden job sites. To operate as safety as possible, excellent visibility from the truck cab is crucial,” von Mayenburg said.
Another key feature contributing to safe, productive operations is the Business Class M2’s superb maneuverability. Freightliner incorporated wider king pins, altered the front axle position and incorporated a unique hood and bumper design. The result is a up-to-55-degree wheel cut delivering an extremely tight turning radius.
“The Business Class M2’s tight-turning-capability will enable the driver to navigate cramped areas more safely and quickly,” von Mayenburg said. “There also will be less need for backing up, when problems tend to occur.”
Ease of Driver Ingress/Egress
In designing the truck, Freightliner engineers also focused on optimizing driver ingress and egress from the truck cab.
The Business Class M2 offers a very low cab floor height, so the driver does not have to climb or descend as far to enter or exit the cab. In addition, the truck’s doors are wider and taller than in Freightliner’s previous Business Class models, also contributing to easier access.
Freightliner has incorporated offset steps to allow the driver to quickly step up into the cab. Numerous grab handles are ergonomically designed and optimally located to give drivers a choice of handholds. Grab handles are completely coated to prevent slippage.
“Drivers of medium-duty and vocational trucks may enter and exit the cab as many as 50 times per day, so it’s essential that we make that task as simple and easy as possible to increase safety and reduce fatigue,” von Mayenburg said.
The interior of the Business Class M2 also was optimized to maximize driver productivity and comfort.
Freightliner engineers lengthened the cab and shortened the hood of the truck to provide more interior room. Drivers of all shapes and sizes -- especially those who require extra leg and belly room -- will appreciate the cab’s roominess.
An assortment of comfortable seating options are available, including individual driver and passenger seats, bench seats and air-suspended seats. There’s also plenty of storage room for extra clothing, work gloves, clipboards, paperwork and other tools of the trade.
A handsome, automotive-style dash is aesthetically pleasing and highly functional, offering easy access to switches. Driver and passenger cup holders are conveniently located and integrated into the dash.
An upgraded instrument cluster allows for increased communications and diagnostics capability. Many vehicle controls are turn-stalk-mounted for convenience and ease of use.
“Whether the operator is large or small, advanced engineering techniques have yielded improvements in steering wheel location, pedal arrangement, greater legroom, and longer seat adjustment,” von Mayenburg said.
In the Business Class M2, Freightliner has installed a state-of-the-art, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. The new system eliminates binding cables and replaces them with automotive-style electronic controls for precise, constant temperature control. The HVAC is a blend air system in which the temperature is controlled by mixing cold and warm air – previously, the temperature was controlled by regulating the coolant flow. These technological enhancements result not only in increased personal comfort but also in better overall system performance.
Quiet Interior, Smooth Ride
Drivers also will enjoy the Business Class M2’s quiet interior and smooth ride.
Freightliner has added extra insulation throughout the cab, including a double weather seal in the doors and cab to reduce interior noise levels.
For a premium ride, the Business Class M2 offers a unique combination of chassis and cab suspension designs.
The front suspension is a single leaf design with a rubber-bushed forward eye. The front suspension design uses a rubber shear pad to replace the shackle at the rear of the spring.
The standard rear suspension is a 52-inch variable rate, multi-stage rear suspension. This enhanced spring suspension uses a slipper pad in place of a rear shackle, which eliminates spring slap and provides a quieter, smoother ride.
For further ride enhancement, customers can select an optional 60-inch taper leaf suspension that comes with a rear-shackle mounting, shock absorbers and optional sway bar. For maximum comfort and cargo cushioning Freightliner’s proprietary AirLiner air suspension in many ratings also is available.
Available cab suspensions include rubber, leaf spring and air suspensions.
“The Business Class M2’s advantages in ergonomics, driver productivity and safety are intended to directly benefit the customer’s bottom line,” von Mayenburg said.
Constructed for Maximum Uptime
In creating a driver-friendly truck, Freightliner did not sacrifice toughness or durability. The Business Class M2 is designed to withstand the punishment of harsh operations. Throughout the vehicle, Freightliner has used advanced materials, components and engineering techniques to enhance durability and maximize uptime.
The new truck features a high-strength, fully stamped, aluminum cab for lightweight performance and corrosion-resistance. The ruggedness of the cab is based on a combination of Henrob rivets, adhesives, laser welding and Huckbolts.
Freightliner subjected the Business Class M2 cab to rigorous structural impact tests, including the Swedish pendulum test where a high-energy cylinder is released to impact the A-pillar from an angle. The new cab is designed to meet the stringent European ECE R29 cab crashworthiness standard.
The cab doors also are designed to resist punishing use. The doors features aluminum inner and outer panels. Steel is used for door hinges, door latches, reinforcement at the upper mirror mountings and to strengthen the inner door panel.
“With the driver or crew in and out of the truck so often, cab doors really take a beating in medium-duty and vocational truck operations,” von Mayenburg said. “With their rugged design, redundant seals and steel re-enforcement, Business Class M2 doors are designed to stand up to the daily pounding.”
Throughout the truck, Freightliner has incorporated components and features to resist damage and corrosion. Highlights include corrosion-resistant aluminum fuel tanks as standard, covered plastic battery boxes, powder-coated steps, composite headlight covers which resist chipping and breakage, flexible bumper end caps and fold-away mirror brackets. Inside the cab, interior wires are routed through a covered trough to protect against damage.
“These kinds of trucks are going to get beat up – that’s the nature of the job – but if the truck can stand up to the punishment and stay in service, then the customer is maximizing his or her investment.” von Mayenburg said.
Two of the more advanced features contributing to vehicle uptime are an advanced multiplexed wiring system and new Air Manifold Unit (AMU).
The Business Class M2’s use of multiplexing technology simplifies the entire electrical system, improving reliability and making electrical diagnostics and repair much easier. In the multiplexed system, multiple electrical signals are carried along a simplified set of wires, eliminating large wiring bundles. With significantly fewer wires overall, there’s less chance of damage, shorts and other problems. The multiplexed system also features intelligent controls, which allow the technicians to quickly pinpoint any problems. To utilize the system’s diagnostic capability, technicians need only plug into the diagnostic port on the lower left side of the dash and use Freightliner’s advanced, ServiceLink software to manipulate information. ServiceLink allows the technician to determine how the vehicle was built and to control individual outputs of the multiplex system.
Air Manifold Unit
Also contributing to vehicle uptime and reliability is a new Air Manifold Unit (AMU) mounted on the chassis. Freightliner moved the pneumatic air valves from the cab to the chassis thanks to the multiplexed electrical system. The new arrangement of chassis-located stacked air valves greatly reduces the length of the air lines, again, increasing reliability and simplifying repair. Depending on vehicle operating requirements, additional modules can be added to the AMU.
Easy and Infrequent Maintenance
Throughout the truck, Freightliner has designed the Business Class M2 for easy maintenance.
A torsion-bar assist makes the hood very easy to open while a hood damper keeps the hood from shutting unexpectedly or too quickly. There is wide-open access to the engine compartment. An air plenum is built into the hood, reducing piping and obstructions.
See-through fluid reservoirs allow for visual inspection of fluid levels. Fill-points are easily accessible.
Inside the cab, a removable floor section allows better access to the transmission. Optional roped-in windows speed replacement. Wiring is color-coded and numbered for easy identifcation.
Maintenance of the truck should be infrequent, due to long service intervals and long-life components like an adjustment-free hydraulic-actuated clutch, LED-backlit switches in the cab, halogen headlamps and a brushless motor in the HVAC system.
“Truck operators can’t afford downtime,” von Mayenburg said. “We designed the Business Class M2 to be ready to work, day after day, with minimum time required for service or maintenance.”
Built for Ultimate Flexibility
According to von Mayenburg, the Business Class M2 is the most versatile truck platform ever built by Freightliner. The truck will work in a myriad of commercial truck applications including local and regional distribution, food & beverage delivery, fire and emergency services, fuel oil delivery, utilities, government services, towing & recovery, agriculture and many others.
Freightliner will offer the Business Class M2 line in 100-inch, 106-inch and 112-inch BBC (bumper-to-back-of-cab) configurations with extended and crew cabs and other major options. These configurations will serve a wide range of industries and commercial truck operations.
To enable customers to customize vehicles to their specific applications, Freightliner engineered the Business Class M2 with a broad range of major component choices and with thousands of other options.
The first Business Class M2 truck to be introduced – the 106-BBC configuration – will feature the durable, fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz MBE900 engine with ratings from 170-280 horsepower (up to 300 hp for fire and emergency services). Also available will be the Caterpillar 3126 with ratings from 175-300 hp (up to 330 hp for fire and emergency services).
A wide variety of automatic, automated mechanical and manual transmissions will be available, including those from Allison, Eaton-Fuller and Mercedes-Benz.
A range of Meritor axles also are offered.
There’s also a broad range of interior options including trim levels, fabrics, seating and storage options. A convenient, overhead storage console is standard. Customers can specify a back wall storage option as well as a center console that sits between the driver and passenger seats. The center console option provides extra storage room, a writing surface as well as a 12V electrical outlet.
Overall, the Business Class M2 is available with a tremendous range of cab and chassis equipment to fit the needs of the vehicle’s diverse customer base.
The Business Class M2 also is optimized for easy body and equipment installation. The truck features a clean back of cab for simple body installation and a provision on the frame rail, allowing obstruction-free installation of wires or plumbing down the right side of the frame rail.
Freightliner paid special attention to exhaust mounting to provide a variety of vertical and horizontal configurations while maintaining clearance for drivelines, power take-offs and body installations. A uniquely-designed transverse muffler can be mounted underneath the rear of the cab.
Styled for Prestige
Unlike with many work trucks, styling was not an afterthought with the Business Class M2.
“We styled the Business Class M2 to be a source of pride for the truck’s owner and its driver,” von Mayenburg said.
The truck features a sloping, aerodynamic hood. The sloped hood, styled air-intake, front grille (chrome optional), headlights and bumper all complement each other, giving the truck a rugged but sleek appearance. An optional exterior sun visor further enhances exterior styling. Inside and out, the Business Class M2 has a premium appearance.
“This is a great-looking truck that will reflect very positively on the public’s perception of the customer’s business,” von Mayenburg said.
Limited production of 106-inch BBC Business Class M2 models begins in June.
Freightliner Trucks is a division of Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner Trucks produces and markets Class 3-8 trucks and is a DaimlerChrysler company, the world's