Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner
Jacobs' innovation truck will be very busy throughout 2020.

Jacobs Vehicle Systems shows demo truck with updated efficiency technologies

Nov. 3, 2019
A demonstration truck from Jacobs Vehicle Systems made its debut last week, the first stop on a tech tour showcasing its HPD and ADT technologies.

A new demonstration truck from Jacobs Vehicle Systems made its debut last week, the first stop on a technology tour showcasing its High Power Density (HPD) technology and Active Decompression Technology (ADT).

Jacobs, the Connecticut-based company best known for the “Jake” engine compression brake, displayed the Freightliner Cascadia at the 2019 North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) Show in Atlanta. 

Hilko Schmitt, Jacobs' business development manager for Europe, said when fleets are asked whether they are happy with their current engine braking, almost all of them will say "yes." 

“But what we are proposing is something more powerful,” Schmitt said in an interview with Fleet Owner. "So they don’t know there is an alternative now on the market that is actually much better than what they have today."

Schmitt added: "They don’t know what they don’t know, so we have to educate them. But you can only do that if you have the product with you so they can feel it - because an engine brake is something you can feel."

The North American Technology Tour is officially scheduled to kick off in the spring at the Navistar Proving Grounds in South Bend, IN. The tour on this continent follows a similar one that took place in the United Kingdom in 2016 using a Mercedes-Benz Actros. 

Paul Pare, director of marketing, said the tour is part of the company’s efforts to showcase its range of products directly to end users across the country, beyond working with original equipment manufacturers. 

"Our whole history had been going to the OE,” said Pare. “Then it was the OE coming to us, once we went from an aftermarket product to a factory-installed product. But now as things change… and there are more options, we had to change our strategy."

Benefits of the HPD technology are centered on the growing need for increased retarding demands to compensate for lower engine operating speeds, smaller displacement engines and decreased aerodynamic drag and decreased rolling resistance common today’s trucks. 

HDP can also double the braking power at cruise speeds, speed up shifting for better acceleration and hill climbing, and reduce the need for downshifting by providing power at the normal operating engine speed.

ADT improves engine operation during startup and shutdown, reducing emissions and fuel consumption while creating a more comfortable driver experience.

It has been proven to eliminate engine-shutdown-induced cabin vibration. That vibration is often likely to awaken a sleeper driver, leading to lower overall job satisfaction and higher turnover, said SchmittIt also increases cranking speed for easier start-ups.

Also during NACV, Jacobs also announced the results of fuel consumption and emission reduction tests for its cylinder deactivation (CDA) technology as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Super Truck II program.

CDA represents a breakthrough because previously its two benefits – lower emissions and improved fuel economy – were mutually exclusive. 

Jacobs’ CDA was installed on a 13-liter Navistar engine. It provided a 3% improvement in fuel consumption and a decrease in NOx emissions from the increased exhaust temperatures during cold operation while in CDA mode.

CDA allows a six-cylinder diesel engine to operate on just three when operating under light load and during cold starts.

At the lowest engine loads and with three of six cylinders deactivated, fuel consumption improves by up to 20%. During vehicle coasting conditions, CDA can be applied to some or all cylinders, allowing the vehicle to coast further with less fuel.

 “This is allowing us to show that this is not only ready for the road, but also for the market,” said Robb Janak, Jacobs’ director of new technology. “It is our hope that we will be able to demonstrate even more fuel savings with CDA in real driving conditions than what we have already demonstrated in the lab.”

Super Truck II is a Department of Energy program bringing together truck manufacturers and suppliers to develop and demonstrate efficiency technologies.

Jacobs’ cylinder deactivation hardware has so far been demonstrated on 10 heavy-duty engine platforms, covering 7- to 15-liter engines, as well as six different heavy-duty truck road tests. It has undergone 6,900 hours of durability testing. 

Prior to NACV, Jacobs celebrated the delivery of its eight millionth engine brake. This milestone came less than two years after shipping its seven millionth brake and nearly 60 years after the company’s first engine brake, invented by Clessie Cummins, was introduced. It took Jacobs 31 years to reach one million milestone. 

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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