Looking for the Super Truck

Diesel News is visiting the US this week and on meeting a refrigerated trucking operator with a fleet of International ProStars in Illinois, discovered just how important fuel saving has become for the American trucking operator. These guys are looking for even the tiniest saving all over the vehicle to save a penny here and there.

 

This kind of interest, plus carbon emission concerns, has lead to the US Government’s spending on the Super Truck program, getting suppliers to the trucking industry to come up with low fuel use solutions in a co-ordinated effort to reduce fuel use, and therefore carbon emissions.

 

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The latest results of this program have been published this week about a Peterbilt 579, powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine. This achieved a mind boggling 3.6 km/l in running a route between Denton and Vernon in Texas. The 500 km route was tested in both directions to ensure factors like wind direction did not adversely effect the result.

 

Running at around 30 tonnes at 100 km/h the truck and trailer combination broke through the 10 miles per gallon barrier set by the program. In fact, the truck achieved 10.7 mpg in the test. The program goal was to achieve a 68 per cent freight-efficiency increase over a 2009 baseline vehicle of the same weight traveling along the same route.

 

The engine used in the testing uses a modified Cummins ISX15. Engine systems convert exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft. GPS map based programs use topographical information about the route to adapt electronic control to optimise fuel use.

 

Eaton’s contribution includes the design, development and prototyping of an advanced transmission designed to ensure the engine is always running at the lowest feasible rpm level. Along with Cummins the mapping of engine parameters and gear shift points are co-ordinated to maximise fuel savings.

 

The SuperTruck design also includes chassis refinements, improvements in the aerodynamics and other significant advances in the engine. Every possible weight saving has been included to maximise results.

 

It's a numbers game Go Go Van for Australia?

Author: Tim Giles

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