Trucking Engine, Aerodynamic Fixes Could Boost Fuel Efficiency by 8%

Posted on 14. Dec, 2016 by in ACT in the News

Heavy-duty truck manufacturers have made a large number of modifications in response to future Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2017 requirements, says a new study. And while most of these changes have involved revised powertrains, improved aerodynamics have been included.

According to the North American On-highway Commercial Vehicle Engine Outlook, published by ACT Research Inc. and Rhein Associates, when all potential engine enhancement changes for 2017 are combined with the proposed aerodynamic improvements, fuel efficiencies could improve by 8 percent.

The just-released research report is designed to present historical trends, current activity and forecasts of engine demand in on-highway commercial vehicles. The report analyzes significant trends in engine displacement, engine type (diesel, gasoline, natural gas, and other), captive versus non-captive engines, and premium versus non-premium power for Class 8 vehicles.

“Aerodynamic improvements include air-smoothed hood and roof designs, new bumpers with integrated air dams, new mirrors, revised fender skirts and rear cab mounted air fairings to better manage the air gap ahead of the trailer,” said Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates. He added, “These improvements continue to evolve, with many having been validated by SuperTruck initiatives.

“The improved engine efficiencies have been achieved with modifications to existing engine platforms and utilization of integrated automated transmissions,” said Rhein. He continued, “One benefit is the use of GPS-based predictive cruise to manage engine speed and transmission selection in hilly terrain, offering up to a 2 percent fuel economy advantage.”

Rhein Associates is a major supplier of powertrain information to worldwide clients, enabling accurate and informed business decisions and marketing plans. RAI produces three major publications: The Rhein Report (leading monthly newsletter), The Future of Diesel Engines (a five-year history and forecast book), and various engine databases as well as accomplishing various consulting projects.