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Lofty Goals for Starship Project Truck

By on May 1, 2018
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Shell & AirFlow Truck Company Debut Energy-Efficient Class 8

Utilizing technologies available today, Shell and AirFlow Truck Company have designed and built a hyper-fuel-efficient Class 8 truck capable of significant energy reductions. This next-gen concept, designated the Starship Project, utilizes an aerodynamic, carbon-fiber body design, including side skirts, hood, front end, and a custom DOT-approved, wrap-around windshield. The trailer also has energy-efficient features such as full side skirts to reduce drag and a 5,000-watt, trailer-top solar array to reduce the energy load by powering interior accessories.

“We seek projects such as the Starship initiative to keep Shell at the leading edge of technology development and energy efficiency,” said Bob Mainwaring, technology manager for innovation, Shell Lubricants. “The transportation industry is constantly changing, and our goal is to be at the forefront of innovation by collaborating with companies like AirFlow and others to develop creative solutions that provide benefits for years to come.”

With new fuel economy regulations on the horizon and the need for continuing advances in emissions reductions, Shell Lubricants recognized that a holistic approach to achieving fuel-efficiency gains is very important. This includes advances in engine and drive train technologies, the use of low-viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamics, and efficient-driving techniques.

Starship Project Testing

The Starship Project truck is powered by a 400-hp 2017 Cummins X15 Efficiency 6-cylinder, producing 1850-foot-pounds of torque. The standard engine and transmission were calibrated to run at speeds as low as 800 rpm. Shell provided technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components, as well as recommendations for lubricant needs. Engine lubrication is provided by Shell Rotella® T6 Ultra 5W-30, which is a low-viscosity API FA-4 oil.

The Starship initiative also provides an opportunity to test Shell Rotella® T6 Ultra 5W-30 in a cutting-edge vehicle, prior to its introduction. The truck is also using other synthetics, including Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-80 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel-hub oil, plus Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant and DEF.

The Starship Project truck is undertaking a California-to-Florida run during May, carrying a load of clean-reef material destined for installation off the Florida coast. The holistic approach utilized by Shell and AirFlow is expected to dramatically reduce fuel consumption for Class 8 trucks and trailers, as measured by freight-ton efficiency.

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