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Joint effort yields results

Private truck fleets are interested in testing and implementing energy efficient technologies for heavy duty vehicles can benefit from services such as Performance Innovation Transport (PIT ). The Private Motor Truck Council has developed an...


Private truck fleets are interested in testing and implementing energy efficient technologies for heavy duty vehicles can benefit from services such as Performance Innovation Transport (PIT ). The Private Motor Truck Council has developed an agreement with PIT, announced at the annual PMTC conference this June, for members to access the various services offered at PIT.

PIT offers track testing on a track managed by PNG technologies.

“They manage Transport Canada’s motor vehicle test and research center on 25 km of test tracks, and a variety of surfaces,” said Andrew Hickman, senior technician at PIT.

In 2007, said Hickman, two fleets, (Cascades and Transport Robert), were doing their own testing, and brought in FP Innovations, with its expertise in networking with R&D groups, to validate the protocols and processes and to be a third party intermediary.

“We created a test campaign called Energotest, testing 19 technologies in 5 days over 50 fleets who participated in the unveiling of the results several weeks later. This success led to the creation of a full program at the request of the industry in 2008; the program was called PIT,” said Hickman.

Eight campaigns later, essentially PIT acts as a hub for fleets, clients and governments who are interested in cost and emissions reductions, said Hickman.

It’s a member- driven organization and projects are aimed at creating solutions.

In 2008, PIT received the AQME (Quebec Energy Association) Energia award for the project “Testing and Implementation of Eco-Energetic Technologies for Heavy-Duty Vehicles”, said Hickman.

“It takes the guesswork out of selecting the right technology for fleets,” Hickman said of PIT, allowing for a focus on the implementation of innovative technologies for maximum ROI.

PIT members comprise 30 Canadian and US fleets with more than 10,000 tractors and 30,000 trailers, as well as federal and provincial government agencies, and municipalities.

“We can bring the cost of testing down by pooling our resources,” said Hickman.

Recent work has also been done on the light vehicles side for municipalities, he added.

Test customers come from all over the world to access dedicated tests on track, road, off road, and in climatic chambers. Consulting, training and workshops are also available, as are tech guides covering such topics as biodiesel, tire pressure management systems, and IV-ITS Implementation (i.e. on board computers).

PIT has done studies on duty cycle test procedures, an overview of boat tails, and on ECM.

 “There are also some long term operational observations going on in evaluating the service of hybrid delivery trucks, on the development of a hybrid truck best practices guide, and on disc brakes,” said Hickman.

In terms of testing on energy-efficient technologies, PIT is looking at aerodynamic drag reduction measures, rolling resistance measures, and technologies for improving powertrain efficiency.

Under the Energotest model, “The main objective of testing on track is to conduct controlled test track studies to eliminate variables,” said Hickman.

Technology suppliers are referred to PIT by fleet members. PIT organizes Energotest campaigns by bringing together fleets and tech suppliers several weeks each year.

“We’re now doing some more developmental processes where fleets can rent the track for a time period and test various technologies at once,” said Hickman.

Since 2007, eight campaigns and about 1.5 million in testing has been paid for by suppliers, and some 150 technologies and best practices have been tested.

“To be honest you can’t do this as a single fleet. We try and take this pressure off the shoulders of the fleet –our engineers already devoted to looking at new technologies,” he said.

In 2012, two campaigns were scheduled for May 28-June 6 and Sept 10-19.

The Energotest methodology forfuel consumption tests includes high speed test, duty cycle test (developed with Transport Canada) and test procedures based on SAE J1321: Type II (component testing), and SAE J1526: Type III (vehicle testing).

“We can identify infinitesimal changes in driver behaviour that can affect the testing,” noted Hickman.

An auxiliary tank filled with diesel is attached to truck to run the cycle. At night, marshals are out monitoring the track to keep animals off, said Hickman,

“We have done 90 supplier tests and 57 PIT in house tests. We’ve also done environmental chamber fuel testing, for example comparing the fuel consumption of the same refrigerated unit on the same test vehicles but with two different two different refrigerated van boxes: one a classic design of aluminum and steel joints, insulated with sprayon urethane foam; and one a new design of high-density polyurethane sandwich panels, without any joints; at an ambient temperature of +30°C, and with a refrigerated box interior temperature of -10°C,” said Hickman.

A big part of the testing is on emissions. PIT owns a portable emission measurement system (the Horiba 2000), which can measure greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and THC (total hydrocarbons).

Technology’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions has been that GHGs  are increasing, said Hickman.

“Hopefully they will be going down under the new regulations,” he said.

In terms of measuring ROI for technologies such as hybrid utility vehicles, “it’s over 300 months ROI at this point-that’s why there is not a lot of investment,” said Hickman.

Test results are quickly distributed to members and PIT staff supports members with implementation, including providing practical implementation of energy efficiency plans and of driver training and performance monitoring.

“We are affiliated with Transport Canada to deliver their Smart Driver training programs

ETV, the Environmental Technology Verification Program, provides  3rd party verification for the tests. Our reports are used for (US EPA) Smart Way verification, said Hickman.

“PMTC and PIT have entered into an agreement where PMTC members have access to the reports, guides, and services. We’re looking at developing our own center for transportation research to house more equipment,” he said.

A strategic alliance is in the works on electric vehicles with the CNTA, National Center for Advanced Transport. A Canada-France initiatives, the CNTA has a recognized expertise in electric vehicles and power train, said Hickman.

“Technology testing is essential-you don’t want to go in there blind. We want to make sure the industry is getting the best,” said Hickman.


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