Concept truck design to shatter fuel-efficiency records

LOUISVILLE, KY – Shell Lubricants has announced its partnership with AirFlow Truck Company owner and designer, Bob Sliwa, to develop a hyper-fuel mileage Class 8 tractor trailer, aimed at shattering existing fuel efficiency records for class 8 trucks. Dubbed the StarShip truck, this next-generation concept truck is expected to complete cross-country testing in 2017.

“During our continuous on-highway testing of Shell Rotella engine oils and other lubricants, we always seek to understand how efficiencies can be gained across the whole truck,” said Chris Guerrero, global brand manager for Shell Rotella.  “Aerodynamics plays a big role in achieving higher fuel economy and we look forward to working with Bob Sliwa and AirFlow Truck Company on the evolution of an all-new hyper fuel mileage tractor and trailer.”

Shell Lubricants claims that with new fuel economy regulations on the horizon, making fuel economy gains will have to include advances in engine and drive train technology, the use of low viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamic designs, efficient driving methods and more.

Initial designs call for the StarShip tractor and trailer to join together into a single integrated unit, solving the problem of having a gap between the tractor and trailer, which is a big source of aerodynamic drag and loss of efficiency.  The tractor and trailer will also have newly designed side skirts, hood, front end and custom interior. The tractor to trailer Active Aerodynamics gap sealer and the trailer skirts will all retract below 35 mph or when coming up on obstructions such as a railroad crossing.

AirFlow Truck Company and Shell Lubricants will cooperatively design hardware and fluids with the goal to improve fuel economy and other efficiencies.

The Shell Lubricants team will provide technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components and recommendations for lubricant needs for use in the StarShip truck. 

As the industry prepares for the next generation of diesel engine oils, currently designated as PC-11, the ability to work with AirFlow Truck Company gives Shell Lubricants the opportunity to align with an innovator in truck design and allows it to explore the limits of fuel efficiency, Shell claims.

“This technical alliance and the opportunity to work closely on the development of the next generation AirFlow truck is an exciting prospect,” said Dan Arcy, OEM technical manager, Shell Lubricants. “The ability to test some of our newest PC-11 engine oils in a cutting-edge vehicle will provide us with some valuable information as we work to create lower viscosity engine oils without sacrificing performance.”

AirFlow Truck Company has built two previous aerodynamic and fuel-efficient Class 8 tractor trailers, the first in 1983 and the most recent in 2012.  The most recent rig, dubbed the Bullet Truck, ran coast-to-coast hauling freight at 65,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and averaged a record 13.4 mpg.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.