Navistar brought its "CataLIST" Super Truck to the TMC event; a tractor connected to a Wabash-built trailer that achieves 13 miles per gallon and improves "freight efficiency" some 104% compared to the 2009 model tractor used as the "baseline" for the project. More details regarding the CataLIST are available by clicking here.
Navistar's Charles Chilton noted that the CataLIST Super Truck had been doing wind tunnel testing in California before its trip to Nashville for TMC. He added that the truck can sustain 65 pm on the highway with just 80 engine hp. Wabash National Corp. built the CataLIST trailer and all the truck OEMs present said these Super Truck projects are fostering more collaboration between truck and trailer makers.
"Brake thermal efficiency" or "BTE" is the metric Super Truck projects are tasked to improve. Chilton said the CataLIST improved BTE to 50.3%, with two-thirds of the improvements coming from the aerodynamics of tractor-trailer and one-third from "system efficiencies" such as a reduction of parasitic loads on the engine.
Cameras play key roles on the CataLIST, replacing the traditional sideview mirrors to vastly reduce aerodynamic drag.
A new light emitting diode or "LED" headlamp system reduces lamp size for a more aerodynamic shape and cuts electrical power requirements by greater than 80%, Navistar said.
The trick to moving CataLIST Super Truck improvements to "real-world" tractor models is to achieve "commercially viable" payback in a one to two year timeframe, Chilton said.
A view inside the CataLIST's cab; on the cab pillar to the right of the "driver's" head you can see the camera display screen that places the traditional sideview mirrors.
DTNA brought one of its 2018 Casadia tractors to the event, equipped with the FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit and aerodynamic "AeroFlaps" that replace traditional heavy rubber mud flaps.
DTNA's Jeff Girbach noted on the panel that "Super Truck" projects allow OEMs to pursue what he calls "high risk, high reward" technologies. He also noted that these projects often fine that certain technologies can deliver more fuel savings in combination rather that individually, leading to what he called "1+1+3" effects. "These projects are showing us that in terms of fuel efficiency a truck can more than the sum of its parts," he explained.
Girbach noted that one of the biggest findings DTNA made for its Super Truck work, one it's applying to the 2018 Cascadia and other models, is that allowing the highway tractor to "coast" in neutral, letting the momentum of the vehicle maintain it at highway speed while allowing the engine fall to idle, can deliver much bigger than anticipated fuel savings.
Volvo's Wade Long noted that though his company joined the Super Truck program later than others, in 2011, its concept vehicle delivered 12 mpg to 13 mpg versus the 7 mpg of the "baseline" 2009 model VNL tractor used for comparison. That 5 mpg to 6 mpg improvement translates into $17,000 worth of fuel saved per year per truck, he noted.
Volvo's Long noted that his company started making changes to its 2016 models based on its Super Truck work, revising its bumper fairing, chassis fairing, and roof fairing shapes.
Peterbilt, Cummins and Eaton collaborated on a Super Truck project that also looped in TL carrier U.S. Xpress to keep "the voice of the customer" front and center during all of the research, explained Peterbilt's Ken Damon. "We needed their input to decide what could become commercially viable and what could not," he said.
Cummins' Virek Sujan noted that its work on the Super Truck program helped the company design its new X15 engine line.
Cummins' Sujan said there are parasitic losses 'all over the engine" today, such as oil and water pumps, so moving those to another power source helps focus the engine on just burning fuel to power vehicle propulsion; and vehicle propulsion alone.
Ken Howden, director of the 21st Century Truck Partnership at DOE, noted that this ongoing "partnership," which got started at the tail-end of Bill Clinton's administration, also involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Army, and 15 truck OEMs and various suppliers.
Six panelists excluding Howden, representing four truck OEMs and one engine supplier, shared some of the findings from recent Super Truck efforts and how they used them to improve current Class 8 models. Seen in this photo left to right are DOE's Ken Howden (standing), Jeff Girback with DTNA and its powertrain subsidiary Detroit; Virek Sujan from Cummins, and Ken Damon from Peterbilt.
Here from right to left are VTNA's Skip Yeakel and Wade Long, followed by Navistar's Charles Chilton and again DOE's Ken Howden (standing).