The Future of Trucking Drives Closer

Starship 1

By Brian Normile

The trucking industry, like the automotive industry, is keeping one eye on fuel-efficiency improvements even as regulations governing such things may be loosening. It's one of the rare instances where capitalism and environmentalism are in agreement as efficiency is good for the environment and the bottom line. Here's the latest on what the big-rig industry is up to.

Aerodynamic All-Star

Starship 2

Shell Lubricants and the AirFlow Truck Co. teamed up for the Starship Initiative, an attempt to drastically improve trucking efficiency. The Starship truck combined significantly improved aerodynamics with other improvements to produce a more efficient semitruck. The result? Shell Lubricants reports that after a 2,300-mile trip, the Starship truck returned a 248 percent improvement in freight-ton efficiency over the industry average. The industry average is 72 ton-miles per gallon while the Starship produced 178.4.

Can all of this be put into mainstream production? Over time, perhaps. But the Starship has a custom carbon fiber cab that likely would prove too cost prohibitive. A custom boat tail trailer with full-length side skirts presents its own difficulties as well; not every industry or shipping company can switch to trailers like that.

More reasonable improvements include the Cummins X15 Efficiency series engine, low-viscosity lubricants, low-rolling-resistance tires and improved driving strategies. The mild-hybrid drivetrain with axle motors and temperature-activated grille shutters aren't likely to be near-term improvements but seem like possibilities in the mid- to long-term.

Diesel power isn't the only option according to some, however.

It's Electric

Tesla semi

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a big splash last November when he revealed the Tesla Semi, an all-electric semitruck prototype. Since then, we haven't heard much about it. According to Business Insider, at the company's most recent shareholder's meeting Musk announced that the production version would be slightly different and have "range and functionality" improvements. No specifics were given; the prototype shown in November had a claimed 400 miles of range, and functionality is such a broad term that it could mean anything. Will its capacity increase? Maybe the driver no longer sits in the center and is thus capable of paying tolls or interacting with entry/exit gate personnel?

ECascadia

Daimler, meanwhile, announced its own electric big rig and says it is sending 30 prototypes of the Freightliner eCascadia and its smaller medium-duty sibling, the Freightliner eM2 106, to customers for field testing, according to Autoblog. Daimler says the semi will have a range of 250 miles and a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 pounds; the medium-duty electric truck will have a range of 230 miles. Daimler expects both trucks to enter full production in 2021.

The Big Picture

All-electric semitrucks aren't the sole answer to fuel-efficiency and environmental issues without a massive change in infrastructure or a change in charging methods. It's simply not feasible to use electric vehicles for long-haul trucking right now. They'll work much better for shorter, local routes, but then the issue becomes cost and maintenance. If an electric truck is significantly more expensive to buy or maintain, it won't catch on with fleets or owner/operators.

Improving aerodynamics and fuel efficiency will have a more significant impact across the industry than switching powertrains entirely. Taking the largest step in the right direction will involve combining both types of improvements, but any smaller step is an improvement.

Manufacturer images

Comments

Where did the sales report go?

Where did the sales report go?
Posted by: Sierra | Jun 11, 2018 9:33:21 AM
Does it really matter...all it's going to do is fill up the thread with bickering and name calling and useless comments as always.

Exactly who cares! Except Frank. We already know Ford is at the top, followed by GM and Ram. Does it mean anything, No..

Agree with BA and Budsy on the SR.

The future certainly is going to be wild whats coming to trucking. Not that just about every aspect of life wont be effected in the future.

I think these things are cool, just as long as they have the power to get out of their own way. Pain in the rear to get behind 2 trucks side by side going up a long hill.....

Question for you real truck guys, does a single wide wheel get better gas mileage then duals? Longer life? Higher weight capacity? Just wondering

"It's one of the rare instances where capitalism and environmentalism are in agreement as efficiency is good for the environment and the bottom line."

@PUTC

Give me a break! That's the message that cost CEO Jeff Immelt his job at GE. It's the reason Ford invested vast sums of precious shareholder dollars in failed green projects and cars nobody wants to buy. Despite being devastated by the 2008 recession, GM was able to keep pace with Ford while having no resources to compete in the green competition.

Please! I'm not buying it

Please! I'm not buying it


Posted by: papajim | Jun 11, 2018 10:37:44 AM
—————————

You’re on food stamps and social assistance. There’s not much you can buy

That’s papajim for you.

What about the issue not talked about? Mining minerals in 3rd world countries with no child labor laws! Is "green" really better? Who is really profiting from "green"?

@ papajim

That wasn't me, it's an imposter so ignore it. Probably Frank..

Great news but who's gonna drive them? The shortage of drivers is a much bigger problem.

Great news but who's gonna drive them? The shortage of drivers is a much bigger problem.

Posted by: Jim Getten | Jun 11, 2018 12:40:41 PM
————————————

Filthy Islamic 3rd world fakeugees

Question for you real truck guys, does a single wide wheel get better gas mileage then duals? Longer life? Higher weight capacity? Just wondering...Posted by: Dave | Jun 11, 2018

@Dave

Fuel economy becomes an issue when big trucks are running 60-80 mph on the Interstates.

The majority of big rigs where I live are making intrastate delivers---leave the yard in the morning, home by dinner time.

A lot of these drivers spend their day driving in traffic and speeds average less than 35-40 mph. Aerodynamics simply is not a factor at those speeds.

GM failed. GM went bankrupt. GM needed a huge gov bailout. Ford didnt need many if that and Ford truck are still number one. I'm not buying papajim's spin. No wonder the fanboyz don't want to see the sales report anymore. smh.

papajim is scared.

@Bobby M

GM failed 10 years ago. Smell the coffee.

Today GM is a giant in the global auto scene. Top managers.

Ford's management suite is like a revolving door. Don't forget that Ford took a huge subsidized loan before the recession.

Try reading for comprehension.

Hahaha more sales guys! Fords #1 in sales lol. I guess when that's all you can brag about what should we expect..

Lol, most truck drivers near Papa Jim in traffic all day? There is traffic, and there are state highways and interstates.

Most of them will be on a 60 plus mph road at one time or another, everyday. Aero does help.

@ BA --- Ford builds junk, who cares.

I care about sales. I have to agree with Frank. Anyone who say they dont want to know the sales numbers anymore is scared.

Scared? Of what? Everybody knows Ford is #1 in sales, what does the sales #s tell you about a truck?? Nothing. Ford sells a lot of trucks because there name and marketing, obviously. In the real world you buy what you like, unless your a follower. Literally a follower, cuz Ford can't keep up with GM in a comparison no matter how many times they increase hp & tq. They haven't been able to keep up with the D-Max since day 1...so we can be "scared" of the sales and you can be "scared" of getting out performed. Again. Poor guys gotta brag about something lol!

@ BA

Learn the difference between there, they’re, their, your and you’re before lecturing anyone.

Might help in you not coming across as the bim bulb that you actually are.

@ fake TNT
It's called spell check..but thanks 😂

Why is the future so ugly?

Now that's funny, guy trying to give an English class can't spell! Lol

Looking at TNTGMC posting history, you can see he isn’t very bright. Heck, the ladyboy drives a GMC.

@ BA
Check out the p*ssy Ford girls, you called them out on their sales numbers and they reply by changing the subject and their names while trying to give English class! The only p*ssy on here that uses the word "heck" is Frank!!!

@Sean

You’re not that swift either.

I used the word “ heck “. Not Drank.

Oops. Better correct myself before TNTGMC chimes in.

* Frank. Not Drank.

Ok Frank now it's really obvious..I bet you hide like this in person too cuz your such a p*ssy! 👍

The idea of electric tractors for local routes would be a real plus, especially for urban / suburban stop and go. The emission reductions would be big along with reduced noise in urban canyons.
Improved areodynamics for conventional rigs certainly will improve operators bottom lines along with reduced emissions.
As far as the sidebar of vehicles sales reporting, it does matter. The non reporting reminds me of those school who have " no keeping score" athletics. What a joke, ask the kids they know the score even if the "adults" pretend they are not. The same applies to vehicle manufacturing, hiding the numbers does not change them. GM should put on its big boy pants ,just buck up and deal with the reality good or bad like all the rest.

Nice rig,
,but Tesla fully electric semi will beat any diesel hands down not only ,in performance,,reaching 60mph in 20 seconds with full load of 80.000 lbs
even going uphill,,it will also make brakes last longer since its regen function recharges its bateries going downhil..no need for braking..or downshifting..
Also it has no transmision=,more savings..and recharging will always be cheaper then filing with diesel..all in all estimated saving are in 20% range..
Btw its range will be near 600 miles..

https://electrek.co/2018/05/02/tesla-semi-production-version-range-increase-elon-musk/

Tesla semi reveal
https://youtu.be/nONx_dgr55I

Tesla has 200 orders
https://electrek.co/2017/11/28/tesla-semi-electric-truck-orders-delivery-giant-dhl/

Get used to it, future is electric

@ BA

This is the real TNTGMC.... And its seriously getting cumbersome for.some.lowlife loser to use my user name. Get a life and a pair of balls and post under your own name
As for owning a GMC, I liked their body style better than the silverados, thats why I choose the GMC over Chevy.

@ TNTGMC

Unless your parents named you TNTGMC, you don’t post under “ your own name “.

So who are to tell others what to do or not to do? Typical GMshill

@ fake Sean

Heck, typical p*ssy hiding under someone else's name..Frank!

Sean

This is my user name that I created. Plain and simple. Don't start an argument that u will lose and many others are tired of the posting under others names as well.

There’s no argument in the fact TNTGMC is a GMshill.

Don't get confused by Frank, he's posting under everybody's names

I am not just for GM. But the bottom line is I demand respect! Plain and simple.

@ TNTCHEVY

Another name change? Make all the demands you want. Respect is earned. And you have a long way to to go in earning any.

Plain and simple.

@ Sean & TNT
Ya it's Frank for sure, he has nothing so he resorts to this..its pretty sad. Now it looks like he's posting under multiple names and talking to himself! Douche

@ BA

Yes you are a douche

I just want to apologize for my boyfriend Frank. He hasn't taken his meds today and then I caught him jerking off to today's sales numbers and so he's really frustrated

^^^^

Oh look. It’s BA and another name change. Quite obvious as you’re the one who whines about “ Frank and sales “.

lol pipe dreams in the next 10yrs. It took 20yrs for a ELD

@ BA
If that was you thats hilarious! I wouldn't be surprised though if it wasn't being all the different names Frank has been using. It's easy to tell from previous posts how to get under his skin..sales. Lol! Quit being such a p*ssy and give it up and quit using my name

@ BA
If that was you thats hilarious! I wouldn't be surprised though if it wasn't being all the different names Frank has been using. It's easy to tell from previous posts how to get under his skin..sales. Lol! Quit being such a p*ssy and give it up and quit using my name

@ BA
If that was you thats hilarious! I wouldn't be surprised though if it wasn't being all the different names Frank has been using. It's easy to tell from previous posts how to get under his skin..sales. Lol! Quit being such a p*ssy and give it up and quit using my name

The solutions for moving our stuff are diverse. Electric is not the answer for everything. It will gain traction wherever mandates support it. Diesel-hybrid and aero advancements can close a 20% gap easily. Regional and local distribution and collection are promising for electric, however.

@ Sean & others

Frank keeps posting under multiple names and copying posts. He's out of control!



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