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Walmart Tests New WAVE Concept Truck

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February 27, 2014

Walmart has just begun formally testing Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck, which will be 20 percent more aerodynamic than trucks in its existing fleet.

Current trucks have a micro-turbine hybrid powertrain that can run on diesel, natural gas and biodiesel, according to the company’s The Green Room blog post by Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “When Walmart began its sustainability journey, I never thought it would lead us to trucks like this. It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches.”

WAVE is powered by a turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain, and the trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, reducing its weight by nearly 4,000 pounds, which can then be used to carry more freight. One of Walmart’s goals set in 2005 is to double the efficiency of its truck fleet by 2015.

McMillon said he is sharing the news publicly because concept tests such as this give stakeholders “a sense of how sustainability is helping us see things in new ways.”

WAVE is just one of the innovations Walmart discussed at its recent Sustainability Milestone Meeting. “We also talked about new ideas around less photogenic topics like air filters, buttons and even landfills,” McMillon said. “By seeing through the lens of sustainability, we are accelerating the pace of innovation across our business.

McMillon also took the opportunity in his blog post to reflect on a few other topics following his first Milestone Meeting as CEO, including product development, operating more holistically and communications.

“We’re going to continue the good work around energy and waste while really leaning in on products,” he said. “As we grow to a planet of 9 billion people who all want to live like we do, Walmart needs to provide access to food, clothing, and household goods that are sustainable for the planet at prices people can afford. It’s a huge challenge, but it’s right in line with our mission of saving people money so they can live better.”

McMillon also noted that the company needs more holistic thinking, or what he called whole-systems thinking. “One of the great things about sustainability is that it helps you step back and see the big picture. Our responsibility to the planet is about more than the time a product is in our store. It’s about how it was grown or manufactured, how it was transported, and whether it can be reused or recycled.”
And sharing progress and news with stakeholders is an important part of sustainability. “Finally, I was reminded that this is important work but it can still be fun. I love innovating for our customers. I love seeing our organization get passionate about big issues. I love the difference Walmart can make. We had so many people from across the business stand up and share the projects they’re working on, and their enthusiasm is contagious.”


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