Freightliner M2, SD trucks to get cab, safety ‘Plus’

September 13, 2022

Tom Berg


Freightliner plans safety and comfort enhancements for its M2 and SD trucks, including new interiors and advanced electrical systems, and making Detroit Assurance safety systems newly optional on the medium- and heavy-duty vocational models. The changes, collectively called “Plus,” affect the freight-hauling M2 106 and M2 112, and severe-duty 108SD and 114SD. All will enter production in the third quarter of 2023.

Early introduction of the Plus series allows customers time to choose between the new or current models, said Mary Aufdemberg, general manager for product planning and strategic marketing at Daimler Trucks North America, Freightliner’s parent company. Truck production is now stretched out, and customers need to order soon to get reasonable delivery dates.

Plus interiors include new designs for dashboard, instruments, and electrical systems
Plus interiors include new designs for dashboards, instruments, and electrical systems, along with improved seating for driver comfort and insulation for quietness and exclusion of harsh ambient conditions. (Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America)

Existing aluminum-skinned, steel-framed cabs will continue in the Plus series but will be fitted with more comfortable and safer interiors, including improved ergonomics and increased storage, Freightliner executives said at a media introduction this summer.

Enhancements include:

  • New trim levels with improved insulation that muffles exterior noise and provides greater thermal efficiency.
  • “Driver-centric” dashboard with easy-to-read gauges and information screen, and customizable switch panel.
  • Comfortable steering wheel with integrated controls.
  • Ergonomic seats with precise adjustability for improved driver comfort and reduced fatigue.

 Safety and connectivity systems

The Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of safety and connectivity systems, which have been featured on Class 8 Freightliners, will be available across the builder’s entire vocational and medium-duty truck lineup. Already optional with Detroit engines, the safety systems will be available with Cummins engines, as well, executives said. Standard selected safety features – including active brake assist, lane departure warning, and optional side guard assist – allow for increased safety on the road or jobsite. Adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts cruising speed to maintain a safe following distance, will become available when the Plus series enters production.

Side-looking radar, part of Detroit Assurance safety equipment to be available on M2 Plus medium-duty and SD Plus vocational models
Side-looking radar, part of Detroit Assurance safety equipment to be available on M2 Plus medium-duty and SD Plus vocational models, helps drivers avoid blind-side collisions with other traffic. Current aluminum-skinned, steel reinforced cabs will be fitted with improved interiors in the Plus series, due out in next year’s third quarter. (Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America)

Outfitted with Detroit Connect Connectivity systems, Plus series trucks will transmit fault codes to fleet headquarters, and Virtual Technician remotely diagnoses the severity of the fault and suggests when, where and how to best fix the issue. The system includes over-the-air programming to change engine operating parameters and make other updates.

The safety event viewer enables bosses to observe driver safety performance, notifying fleets of collision mitigation events. It will show the time, date and location of an event, plus the vehicle speed at the time of the event and duration of the event.

Detroit and Cummins engines

The Plus series will feature Detroit Gen 5 engines, with Detroit’s DT12 automated manual transmissions, and Cummins diesels with Eaton automated gearboxes. Manual also transmissions will be available. The 114SD Plus can be ordered with the DD13 Gen 5 with new vocational power ratings, as well as enhanced performance, uptime and reliability. Its rapid torque feature gets payloads moving quickly.

The DT12-V vocational automated transmission is an alternative to more costly fully automatic transmissions. DT12-V has Off-road Mode with aggressive shifting for sustained momentum and higher performance on any terrain; Hill Start Aid to keep a truck from rolling back on steep grades; and Rock-Free Mode to get a truck unstuck. Paver Mode allows a dump truck’s driver to shift from neutral to drive without pressing the brake pedal, allowing continued movement of a paving machine.

Several Plus series models will also offer the Cummins B6.7, L9 and X12 diesel options as well as L9N and ISX12N natural gas-fueled engines. Eaton manual and automated manual transmissions, and Allison automatic transmissions are also available in Plus series trucks.

A QuickFit electrical system using a new multiplexed architecture, combined with a CHEC Tool interface, integrates truck equipment to the vehicle easily and quickly, executives said. QuickFit offers easy access to critical connection points, additional power sources, programmable switches, customizable parameters, and interlock features, making upfits more flexible, more reliable, and more durable, all in less time, Freightliner representatives said. Key electrical components will be located inside Plus series’ cabs to provide improved isolation from external variables and road debris.

Plus series M2 and SD vehicles will be assembled at Daimler’s Mount Holly, N.C., and Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico, truck manufacturing plants. LL

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