ACT Outlook Shows Improved Aerodynamics Increasing in Importance

In response to future GHG 2017 requirements, a large amount of modifications have been made by heavy duty truck manufacturers. Although most of these changes have been with revised powertrains, improved aerodynamics have been included, according to the N.A. On-highway CV Engine Outlook by ACT Research and Rhein Associates.

The N.A. On-highway CV Engine Outlook is designed to present historical trends, current activity and forecasts of engine demand in on-highway commercial vehicles. The report analyzes significant trends in engine displacement, engine type (diesel, gasoline, natural gas and other), captive versus non-captive engines and premium versus non-premium power for Class 8 vehicles.

“Aerodynamic improvements include air-smoothed hood and roof designs, new bumpers with integrated air dams, new mirrors, revised fender skirts and rear cab mounted air fairings to better manage the air gap ahead of the trailer,” said Tom Rhein, president of Rhein Associates. “These improvements continue to evolve with many having been validated by SuperTruck initiatives.”

As noted, the majority of improvements made by heavy duty manufacturers have been focused on powertrains, with all engine OEMs having either introduced or announced enhancement changes for 2017. When these potential changes are combined with the proposed aerodynamic improvements, fuel efficiency could improve by 8%.

“The improved engine efficiencies have been achieved with modifications to existing engine platforms and utilization of integrated automated transmissions,” Rhein said. “One benefit is the use of GPS-based predictive cruise to manage engine speed and transmission selection in hilly terrain, offering up to a 2% fuel economy advantage.”

Rhein Associates is a supplier of powertrain information to worldwide clients enabling accurate and informed business decisions and marketing plans.

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