The new Kenworth SuperTruck

… is a good example of what advanced engineering can accomplish. This diesel-hybrid Tractor achieves fuel mileage equivalent to an American sedan of the '60s/'70s.

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Wonder what the initial price tag would be vs conventional diesel? Then cost per mile?
If a true savings, use this powertrain and streamlining for buses?

Pretty cool looking truck. Amazing efficiency improvement from the diesel as well… a 15% gain!

This is not the first time these things have been investigated. Fuel cost is a big part of trucking and even small improvements mean big savings. I’d like to understand the hybrid part better. Unlike most hybrid cars, seems you’ want to use the hybrid more often on the highway. Maybe added power for hills? Added braking on downhills? Seems ripe for hybrid energy.

One part that has always been tricky… The trailer.

The aero front tractor is nice but a big source of aero drag is the trailer’s underside and the rear. You can see a skirted trailer and a tailpiece that forms a taper in one picture. All that helps reduce drag a lot.

One of the pro-truckers here can correct me if wrong, but I don’t think the truckers own or control many of the trailers they pull. The owner of the trailer doesn’t care about fuel efficiency because they don’t pay for the fuel. Walmart might since they are one of the biggest shipping companies in the US and they own both.

I think that Walmart, UPS, and FedEx would gladly buy trailers that aided the fuel efficiency of their tractors.

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I seem to remember seeing moving trucks with the tapered tail. They own their trailers.

I don’t remember seeing UPS or Fedex using trailers like that. They should consider it.

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Of course locomotives have been using this for decades. They only have one drive system though and the diesel is the generator. Don’t know if these would have both mechanical and electric drive though which to me would be a mistake. Nothing new under the sun.

Locomotives haven’t had storage batteries. That’s a big difference. Like if a Prius didn’t have the hybrid battery.

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Locomotives are serial hybrids. Most cars are parallel hybrids.

Locomotives do use their electric motors to slow the train by turning them in to generators, but the resulting current just goes to huge resistors, and all that energy is lost as heat. In comparison, the Kenworth will route that electricity back to the battery, saving the energy for later use.

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Fox? Seriously?

I can’t wait for Jean-Claude Van Damme to test these trucks out…

I imagine they would quickly gain that appreciation if the Truckers who haul these trailers billed them accordingly…

I wonder if there could be an incentive for using a certified trailer that has aero-features.

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Do you mean an inherent incentive or legislated incentive?

I think there is a possibility of inherent incentives in this comment…

I think indie truckers bid on loads… or at least accept the offered price for a given load. Turning down work is tough but accepting only aero trailer job offers might be the leverage needed for wider use.

I generally hate legislated efforts because they are usually so poorly written and have too many unintended consequences.

I’m not a fan of government regulation unless necessary.

What I was imagining was a system administered by - say - the ATA (American Trucking Association) where they would set a standard for a category of trailer that has aero-enhancements, and then the ATA would encourage its members to offer incentives to folks who use these kinds of trailers. I think this could be a win/win.

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What you recommend is sort-of governmental in that a society of people involved in the business get together to do something. I like it better too, in that it’s the folks involved in trucking that come up with incentives. It’s a bit like IIHS leading in automotive safety standards.