Truck fuel efficiency: trends, challenges and emerging technologies

Market drivers, fuel price trends, new and emerging fuel efficiency technologies

Truck fuel efficiency is a key issue for truck manufacturers and suppliers, impacting all parts of heavy commercial vehicles and their operation. Growing oil demand has led to considerable volatility in fuel prices since the beginning of the 21st century. Recent rises in crude oil and automotive fuel prices underline the potential for disrupting operator business models and growing political risks mean the issue looks as if it will remain critical in the coming years.

While fuel costs accounted for around 10% of freight costs a decade or two ago, they have been as high as 35% during recent years, and operators now regard 30% as a benchmark.

The Truck Fuel Efficiency Report outlines the commercial, political and legislative environment, tracks the key technologies, and reports on the status of their development. The report pulls together a number of different perspectives and looks at developments around the entire vehicle to provide an overview of the overall trends in this very important area. With 96 pages and 60 tables and figures, it is an essential guide to this critical area.

Key areas covered include:

  • Market drivers and challenges – regulations fuel prices, incentives
  • Current and developing engine technologies – from stop-start and aftertreatment to new combustion technologies and alternative engine designs
  • Drivetrain technologies – transmission types, axles, hybrid drivetrains, manufacturer strategies
  • Aerodynamics – airtabs, trailer shapes, grilles
  • Tyres – pressure monitoing systems, tyre technology
  • Efficient ancillaries
  • New and future technologies – connectivity and electronic control, autonomous driving, waste heat recovery, freewheeling, power lubrication

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Executive summary

Chapter 2: Market drivers

2.1 Regulations
2.1.1 Fuel economy The European Union (EU) The United States Japan China
2.1.2 Global harmonisation
2.1.3 Idling reduction
2.2 Fuel prices
2.3 Energy security
2.4 Fuel savings
2.5 Incentives
2.5.1 North America
2.5.2 Europe

Chapter 3: The challenges

3.1 Physical obstacles
3.2 Costs
3.3 Diversity of specification and design
3.4 Development time frames
3.5 Calibration of measurements
3.6 Total oil consumption by heavy commercial vehicles

Chapter 4: Progress to date and future targets

4.1 Research studies
4.2 Advances 2013–2017
4.3 The US SuperTruck programme
4.4 European OEMs
4.5 China

Chapter 5: Engine technologies

5.1 Forced induction
5.2 Fuel injection
5.3 Variable valve actuation
5.4 Exhaust after-treatment
5.5 Turbo-compounding
5.6 Stop-start
5.7 Optimised engine management parameters
5.8 New combustion technologies
5.8.1 Homogeneous charge compression ignition
5.8.2 Reactivity controlled compression ignition
5.8.3 Gasoline direct-injection compression ignition
5.9 Alternative engine designs
5.9.1 Opposed-piston designs
5.9.2 Detonation Cycle Gas Turbine
5.9.3 RadMax Rotary Turbine Engine
5.9.4 Scuderi split cycle engine

Chapter 6: Drivetrain technologies

6.1 Transmissions
6.1.1 Manual transmissions
6.1.2 Planetary automatic transmissions
6.1.3 Automated manual transmissions
6.1.4 Dual-clutch transmissions
6.1.5 ZF TraXon modular automated transmissions
6.1.6 Continuously-variable transmissions
6.2 Drive axles
6.3 Hybrid drivetrains
6.3.1 Daimler
6.3.2 Hino
6.3.3 Iveco
6.3.4 Isuzu
6.3.5 MAN
6.3.6 Navistar
6.3.7 Nikola
6.3.8 Paccar
6.3.9 Scania
6.3.10 Sisu
6.3.11 Volvo Group
6.3.12 Workhorse
6.3.13 Wrightspeed
6.3.14 XL Hybrids
6.3.15 Trailer hybrid system

Chapter 7: Aerodynamics

7.1 Tractor-to-trailer gap devices
7.2 Trailer shapes
7.3 Side skirts and wheel fairings
7.4 Trailer tails
7.5 Under-body fairings
7.6 Articulating grille

Chapter 8: Tyres

8.1 Tyre pressure monitoring systems
8.2 Automatic tyre inflation systems
8.3 Low rolling-resistance tyres

Chapter 9: Efficient ancillaries

9.1 Electric power steering
9.2 Electric air conditioning
9.3 Air compressors
9.4 Radiator cooling fans
9.5 Engine coolant pumps
9.6 Turbo-generator

Chapter 10: Other technologies

10.1 Waste heat recovery
10.2 Weight reduction
10.2.1 Steel
10.2.2 Cast iron
10.2.3 Aluminium
10.3 Freewheeling retarder
10.4 Lubrication
10.5 Lighting
10.6 Auxiliary power units
10.7 Connectivity and electronic control
10.7.1 Intelligent powertrain management
10.7.2 Predictive cruise control
10.7.3 Telematics and driver coaching
10.7.4 Autonomous driving and truck platooning

Chapter 11: Maintenance

Appendix 1: Glossary

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Electrical supply to a refrigerated trailer at a truck stop
Figure 2: Cushing, OK WTI crude oil spot price (US$/barrel), 1986 to December 2017
Figure 3: US diesel fuel price (US$/gallon) January 2007 to January 2018
Figure 4: Oil reserves by country (billions of barrels)
Figure 5: Energy losses in a heavy-duty, long-haul truck
Figure 6: Adoption % over time by technology category, 2003 to 2015
Figure 7: Different technologies pursued in the US SuperTruck programme
Figure 8: Holset variable nozzle turbocharger
Figure 9: Ford PowerStroke cobra head turbocharger exhaust
Figure 10: Eaton Twin Vortices Series compressor rotors
Figure 11: Antonov two-speed supercharger
Figure 12: Variable valve actuation on the 6.7-litre Cummins B-Series diesel engine
Figure 13: Valeo e-valve system
Figure 14: Mack Trucks turbo-compounding unit
Figure 15: Criterion emissions from RCCI engine by % gasoline
Figure 16: Napier Deltic opposed-piston engine cutaway
Figure 17: EcoMotors OPOC engine
Figure 18: TourEngine split-cycle engine design
Figure 19: Turbine Truck Engines Detonation Cycle Gas Turbine engine
Figure 20: 540hp prototype of the Detonation Cycle Gas Turbine Engine
Figure 21: RadMax Rotary Turbine
Figure 22: Scuderi split-cycle engine design
Figure 23: Allison nine-speed automatic transmission
Figure 24: Wabco transmission automation module
Figure 25: Eaton UltraShift PLUS
Figure 26: Mitsubishi Fuso Duonic transmission
Figure 27: AVL DCT concept
Figure 28: ZF TraXon fuel consumption compared to AS Tronic and Ecosplit transmissions
Figure 29: Partial (left) and full (right) toroidal transmission systems
Figure 30: Torotrak IVT-based transmission
Figure 31: GCI series CVT schematic
Figure 32: VMT Technologies positively engaged IVT proof model
Figure 33: Mack Trucks 6×2 liftable pusher axle
Figure 34: Meritor differential with oil distribution holes in the casing
Figure 35: Mitsubishi Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid
Figure 36: Iveco EuroCargo hybrid
Figure 37: Nikola Class 8 series hybrid-electric truck
Figure 38: Kenworth T680 Drayage Tractor prototype
Figure 39: Sisu Polar hybrid-electric heavy-duty truck
Figure 40: Workhorse series hybrid delivery truck
Figure 41: Don-Bur Aeris extending trailer bulkhead
Figure 42: XStream Trucking TruckWings
Figure 43: Airtabs on the rear edges of a tractor
Figure 44: Don-Bur teardrop trailer
Figure 45: FlowBelow quick-release wheel fairings
Figure 46: Stemco Transtex Skirt and TrailerTail
Figure 47: SmartTruck TopKit
Figure 48: Airman Wingman system
Figure 49: SmartTruck Premier Aero trailer undertray system
Figure 50: StormBlok EkoStinger
Figure 51: ContiPressureCheck display
Figure 52: Aperia Technologies Halo Tyre Inflator
Figure 53: Michelin X One XDA (Drive Axle) single wide tyre
Figure 54: Horton Modulator RCV250 variable fan drive
Figure 55: Eaton schematic of three-stage Rootes type expander
Figure 56: Heavy-duty diesel oil viscosity trends, 2008–2021
Figure 57: Truck Lite LED headlamps
Figure 58: Thermo King TriPac APU
Figure 59: EnerMotion Hyper APU
Figure 60: Idle Air cab climate control and electrification system
Figure 61: How the Volvo Trucks I-See system works
Figure 62: Peloton truck platooning test
Figure 63: Daimler trucks during the European Truck Platooning Challenge

Table of Tables

Table 1: Japanese fuel economy standards for trucks
Table 2: Japanese fuel economy standards for truck tractors
Table 3: Share of total average marginal truck operating costs, 2008 to 2015
Table 4: Incremental costs of achieving 2027 standards (Canadian dollars)
Table 5: CO2 emissions reductions by European truck manufacturer, 1991–2016

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Author: Michael Murphy
Publisher: Autelligence
Published: June 2018
Pages: 1123
Edition: 4th
Format: PDF

Who is the report for?

Chief Executive Officers, Marketing Directors, Business and Sales Development executives, Product and Project management, Purchasing and Technical Directors that need a powerful third party perspective and overview of the trends and issues in their sector and the potential ramifications for their business.

Author of this report:
Mike Murphy

Mike MurphyMike Murphy B.Sc., M.Phil.(Hons.I) has had a lifelong interest in things automotive including owning and racing a range of motorcycles and track cars. He began regularly contributing to automotive publications in his native New Zealand during the 1990s and in 2004 he became a news editor for a leading UK auto industry publication. He began researching and writing automotive technology sector reports the following year and has had around 50 technology reports and numerous features published by four UK-based automotive and truck industry publications.

About Autelligence

Autelligence is a leading provider of information to the automotive sector about the market and business implications of product, regulatory and technological developments. Over the last fifteen years Autelligence has supplied its insights to most of the leading vehicle makers and first and second tier suppliers. Autelligence staff based around the world conduct regular surveys and discussions with industry experts in Europe, Asia and North America on the key issues that will affect the industry in the coming decade.

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