Headquartered in Denmark, DSV is the fourth largest freight forwarding company in the world. All told, it has more than 20,000 trucks on the road worldwide. Combined, they rack up more than 1.2 billion miles a year. Last year, DSV bought U.S. rival UTi Worldwide Inc. for $1.35 billion.
Volvo has developed a tractor trailer combination that is 30% more fuel efficient than normal. The gains are attributable to a host of aerodynamic improvements coupled with dramatic weight reductions and the use of low rolling resistance tires.
The improvements begin with a normal Volvo FH 420 tractor, which uses a 12.9-liter inline 6-cylinder diesel engine. The aero improvements include fairings on the chassis of the tractor that cover everything except the front wheels. The trailer also gets side skirts and spoilers at the rear to lower drag. Volvo claims a 40% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency from the modifications. In addition, the trailer itself weighs 4,400 pounds less than a standard trailer.
The low rolling resistance tires are helpful, but Volvo also removes the enormous barn door side view mirrors usually found on big rigs and replaces them with digital cameras feeding a display screen inside the cab. Companies like Tesla Motors have been trying to persuade regulators to approve the use of such cameras for years but without success. Perhaps breakthroughs in technology for long haul trucks will filter down to the automotive sector eventually.
Volvo began working on the high efficiency concept 5 years ago and started testing a prototype last fall. The company says the package is not intended for production, but that many of the aerodynamic developments are being incorporated into the trucks is sells today.
Work on more efficient trucks has more urgency now that the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted have submitted their proposed Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for trucks and trailers to the Office of Management and Budget. It is expected that new rules could be approved and promulgated by August of this year.
The new package of rules will apply to model year 2021 to 2027 trucks and tractors. Starting in 2018, they will apply to trailers as well. They will also apply to complete tractor trailer units for the first time. They will establish separate engine fuel efficiency standards for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles.
According to Trucking Info, compliance with the new engine standards may involve finding ways to reduce friction, cut parasitic loads, the use of variable valve timing, and improvements to exhaust gas recirculation, combustion, and fuel injection systems. The EPA and NHTSA project that up to 10% of heavy-duty engines may need turbo-compounding and 15% of engines could have waste heat recovery systems by 2027 to meet the stricter standards.
Every item in your home probably moved on a truck sometime during its journey from the factory. There are far fewer trucks on America’s road than private passenger cars, but their emissions are disproportionate to their numbers. The extra cost of making trucks more fuel efficient will be recaptured many times over in lower fuel costs and in reductions in health care costs throughout the population resulting from lower carbon emissions.
Source: Green Car Reports Pnoto credit: Volvo Trucks
Looking like a cross between a first-generation iMac and an original trilogy Stormtrooper, the latest new concept from Mercedes’ Daimler AG truck division is a massive, over-the-road, completely autonomous truck. It’s called the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, and the company hopes will lead a revolution in how goods are shipped across America.
That’s right. America. As in: the ol’ US of.
That might seem surprising to industry observers who have watched Mercedes reveal product after product everywhere but the US, where the 3-pointed star’s brand prestige remains unsullied by the company’s rush towards downmarket models and mass-market volume. Still, it’s not always up to Mercedes, and the company has revealed that it has no other choice but the US for a debut of its autonomous trucks– because self-driving trucks are already illegal in Europe.
Watch the video, above, and check out the official comments from Mercedes/Daimler AG, below, then let us know what you think American truck drivers will be doing once these things make them obsolete in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025: world premiere of the spectacular study of tomorrow’s trucks – autonomous driving into an exciting future
From a vision to reality – the spectacular Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 study will be providing a visually exciting and technically feasible take on the long-distance truck of tomorrow at the 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show (IAA). In ten years’ time, trucks could be driving autonomously on motorways. Transport efficiency will increase, traffic will be safer for all road users, and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be further reduced. To do this Mercedes-Benz connects existing assistance systems with enhanced sensors to the “Highway Pilot” system. Autonomous driving is already possible at realistic speeds and in realistic motorway traffic situations. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 provides a glimpse of the future shape of trucks.
Truck Yeah’s Awesome Autonomous Truck GIF
Big rig trucks rule America’s highways, and their big diesel engines – and their accompanying smoke stacks – are some of the biggest polluters in the nation. The modern semi engine is significantly cleaner than the last generations’ rigs, for sure, but the sheer volume of trucks and the extreme miles they cover annually still makes them an issue … especially when they’re idling at truck stops.
Idling? Truck stops?
For those of you who don’t fancy the Flying J to be one of America’s greatest bastions of cultural significance, let me explain: truckers tend to idle their engines at stops for extended periods to run air conditioners, powers their TVs and laptops, or to microwave food. Chevrolet’s new IdleAir program hopes to allow them to do all this without emitting the carbon dioxide emissions that come from engine idling.
When a driver subscribes to the IdleAir service, s/he can pull into a specially-marked IdleAir space and install a plastic window adapter that connect the cab to a heating and cooling air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and other conveniences. The truck engine can then be turned off, saving fuel, reducing emissions and keeping power on to the big rig’s amenities.
Chevy says the IdleAir system supports various energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, and could help to prevent the release of some 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in a year.
You can get a better sense of it in the video, below …
… and you can check out the full Chevy press release, here.
CHEVROLET SUPPORTS PROJECT TO HELP TRUCKERS AVOID IDLING
DETROIT – Chevrolet is supporting a project to help long-haul truckers avoid idling during rest breaks at truck stops through a technology that maintains a comfortable cabin temperature and powers a TV, laptop or microwave without emitting the carbon dioxide emissions that come from engine idling.
The IdleAir project is one of many innovative carbon-reduction projects across America where Chevrolet is making an impact on local communities, jobs and the environment. The brand is supporting various energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation initiatives in its goal to prevent up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the earth’s atmosphere. To date, it has secured commitments for nearly 7 million metric tons.
With Chevrolet’s help, IdleAir can further expand availability of its engine-idling alternative. With the service, a driver pulls into an IdleAir space and installs a reusable plastic window adapter that accepts a unit connecting his or her cab to a heating and cooling air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and other conveniences. The truck engine can then be turned off, saving fuel, reducing emissions and keeping power on to the big rig’s amenities.
“IdleAir enables drivers to enjoy a better environment inside and outside of the cabin, without the noise, vibration, and exhaust fumes from idling,” said IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber. “By expanding access to this option throughout America, communities experience cleaner air, reduced noise pollution, local job creation, and an increased tax base for the local economy.”
IdleAir users save a gallon of diesel fuel per truck per hour. Drivers typically rest at night, so IdleAir uses off-peak power and has begun installing solar panels on some of its overhead trusses to provide solar-powered electricity.
“Chevrolet’s significant investment is driving innovation and encouraging unique ways for the country to sustain cleaner energy and, ultimately, reduce the effects of climate change,” said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.
Chevrolet was the largest corporate buyer of voluntary carbon reduction credits in the United States by volume for 2011 as tracked by Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, a nonprofit source of environmental news and data.
“If we want to leave the world a better place, we need to change the way we do things,” said David Tulauskas, GM sustainability director and manager of the Chevrolet carbon-reduction initiative. “Climate change, population growth, urbanization and other issues require our industry to transform itself. We are going beyond our traditional scope of responsibility – building efficient vehicles – into these community-based carbon-reduction projects to help demonstrate our commitment.”
The tapering tail is no secret among scientists for improving stability and fuel efficiency. Many high-mileage concept cars feature just such a design to smooth the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Now imagine applying the same concept to container trucks that log more miles in a year than most of us travel in five.
A Dutch public-private enterprise did just that, adding a 6 foot long tail to the end of a tractor trailer truck. The results from two years of testing were a 7.5% increase in fuel efficiency, and thus a similar decrease in emissions.