Fuel economy is in the air

Fueling the Future was the theme of this year’s Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville.  And what an event!  As many manufacturers and suppliers talked about ways their products can help fleets reduce fuel costs as well as keep them in top operating condition.

TMC is the place to be if you’re interested in spec’ing efficient trucks, operating them efficiently, and keeping them on the road longer. Given the great content of the meeting, the educational seminars and the many networking opportunities it’s no wonder that fleets send people from their operations who are responsible for spec’ing and maintaining their trucks while manufacturers and suppliers send their engineers and field sales and service personnel to this wonderful convening.  Given the work I’ve enjoyed over my career and now our efforts on Trucking Efficiency, this was the place to be last week!!

Many manufacturers use TMC to announce new products or services. For example, at its press conference held just before TMC, Dana Holding Corp. focused on a range of products optimized for engine downspeeding, along with additional drivetrain technologies aimed at increasing efficiency and fuel economy, with a focus on decreasing the total cost of ownership of on-highway vehicles. The company has produced an electronic training module deigned to help people understand the benefits of engine downspeeding. NACFE too understands the benefits of downspeeding and we are currently in the process of conducting a Technology Review on the subject, which will be published later this spring.

Silver Eagle talked about its converter dolly that “automatically telescopes to mind the gap between two doubles trailers. According to Gary Gaussoin, Silver Eagle president, using a TMC Type IV modified test, the company saw a 2.5% improvement in fuel economy with its product, while making the setup more stable.

Stemco, which recently acquired ATDynamics, said the new acquisition is “the cornerstone of Stemco’s aerodynamic vision — to be a provider of aerodynamic technology for trailers. The company’s TrailerTail technology streamlines the airflow around a trailer to reduce the low-pressure drag that impacts fuel economy.

Eaton and Cummins announced that their SmartAdvantage powertrain has proven to be so successful that they will continue to work together to refine it and even introduce new products in the future.

Then there were the many exhibitors who featured “solutions to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.”

And of course, we used the TMC stage to announce our Confidence Report on electronic engine parameters which when set properly result in fuel economy gains of as much as 5-8%.

TMC again, was a great opportunity for all of us who are committed to making trucks as safe and efficient as possible today and into the future. If you’re not already involved with TMC, I encourage you to check out the many things they do to help the industry.

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