Study suggest 8% better fuel economy with GHG 2017 aerodynamic improvements

Dec. 7, 2016

In response to future GHG 2017 requirements, a large amount of modifications have been made by heavy duty truck manufacturers. Although most of these changes have been with revised powertrains, improved aerodynamics have been included, according to the NA On-highway CV Engine Outlook, by Americas Commercial Transportation (ACT) Research and Rhein Associates.

The NA On-highway CV Engine Outlook is designed to present historical trends, current activity and forecasts of engine demand in on-highway commercial vehicles. The report analyzes significant trends in engine displacement, engine type (diesel, gasoline, natural gas, and other), captive versus non-captive engines, and premium versus non-premium power for Class 8 vehicles.

“Aerodynamic improvements include air-smoothed hood and roof designs, new bumpers with integrated air dams, new mirrors, revised fender skirts and rear cab mounted air fairings to better manage the air gap ahead of the trailer,” said Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates. “These improvements continue to evolve with many having been validated by SuperTruck initiatives.”

As noted, the majority of improvements made by heavy-duty manufacturers have been focused on powertrains, with all engine OEMs having either introduced or announced enhancement changes for 2017. When these potential changes are combined with the proposed aerodynamic improvements, fuel efficiency could improve by 8%.

“The improved engine efficiencies have been achieved with modifications to existing engine platforms and utilization of integrated automated transmissions,” Rhein said. “One benefit is the use of GPS-based predictive cruise to manage engine speed and transmission selection in hilly terrain, offering up to a 2% fuel economy advantage.”

Rhein Associates is a major supplier of powertrain information to worldwide clients enabling accurate and informed business decisions and marketing plans. RAI produces three major publications: The Rhein Report (leading monthly newsletter), The Future of Diesel Engines (five-year history and forecast book), and various engine databases as well as accomplishing various consulting projects.

ACT is the worldwide leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market. ACT’s CV services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as the banking and investment community.