Peterbilt, Kenworth Target Aerodynamics to Boost Fuel Efficiency

by | Mar 25, 2010

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KenworthT700Truck makers are rolling out new models for fleet and long-haul truck owners aimed at fuel efficiency. Peterbilt Motors and Kenworth Truck are just a few that unveiled brand new trucks at the Mid-America Trucking Show that incorporate aerodynamic packages that are expected to increase fuel efficiency. They are also delivering natural-gas powered trucks.

These truck makers are ahead of the curve according to a recent study that finds that environmental and fuel-efficiency standards mandated by government regulations are driving the trucking industry to change aggressively over the next decade.

As an example, Peterbilt’s new Model 382 BBC day-cab incorporates the company’s proprietary Aerodynamic Package designed to increase fuel efficiency for the short-haul Class 8 market, reports Fleet Owner. The company will begin building the truck in June.

Peterbilt’s new Model 587 on-highway, long-haul Class 8 tandem rear axle tractor has earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay certification. Designed for long-haul fleets, this model is expected to improve fuel efficiency by 1.25 percent over the Model 387 it replaces.

Peterbilt is also starting limited production for its Model 320 Hybrid low-cab-forward Class 8 refuse truck, equipped with Eaton’s Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA) technology that is designed to increase fuel savings in stop-and-go applications, reports Fleet Owner. The company said the hybrid truck is expected to increase fuel economy by 20 percent and reduce brake replacement by two times.

Peterbilt started offering four hybrid models of commercial trucks in 2008. It is now starting full production of its natural gas-powered Models 384, 365 and 320.

Kenworth’s new aerodynamic T700 long-haul tractor offers a three percent improvement in drag, compared to the T660 model, delivering a 1.5 percent gain in fuel efficiency, reports Fleet Owner.

The company said to help maximize airflow, the aerodynamic high roof has flush-mounted LED marker lights and no exterior sun visor.

Like Peterbilt, Kenworth now offers its new T440 natural gas truck for local and regional haul and vocational applications, which can operate either on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Owners of corporate fleets and long-haul trucking firms are also getting a boost from a $187 million stimulus package that aims to increase the fuel efficiency of U.S.-manufactured vehicles.

Navistar also recently announced that it’s working with NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the U.S. Air Force to develop methods for reducing the drag coefficient of big rigs to increase fuel efficiency by at least 12 percent.

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