This is an exciting project for Shell that allows us to remain at the leading edge of technology development, energy efficiency and sustainability. The transportation industry is dynamic and we intend to stay at the forefront of innovation – collaborating with companies like AirFlow and other suppliers to develop creative solutions that will benefit the industry for years to come.
The pursuit of significant fuel economy gains for class 8 trucks and trailers is a challenging process given the size and traditional construction of a tractor and trailer. With new fuel economy regulations on the horizon and the need for continuing advances in fuel economy, Shell Lubricants recognises that a holistic approach to making fuel economy gains is important. This includes advances in engine and drive train technology, the use of low viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamic designs, efficient driving methods and more. During our continuous on-highway testing of Shell heavy diesel engine oils and other lubricants, we always seek to understand how efficiencies can be gained across the whole truck.
The Starship Initiative is designed to explore the future of what’s possible in truck design, fuel economy savings and CO2 reduction.
- Bespoke 100% hyper-aerodynamic carbon fiber Cab
- Active Grill Shutters (active based on temperature to maximize aerodynamics and maximize efficiency)
- Aerodynamic boat tail for streamlined air flow around truck and drag reduction
- Hybrid electric axle system for a power boost while climbing grades
- Custom automatic tire inflation system for consistent tire pressure and optimal fuel economy
- Downspeed axle configuration provides improved efficiency and pulling power
- 5000 Watt solar array charges and stores power for normal electrical components
- Shell Technologies for Starship:
- Utilizes full synthetic Shell Heavy Duty Engine Oil
- Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-85 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil for performance and protection
The relationship with AirFlow Truck Company is part of a collaborative process fostered by Shell Lubricants that encourages co-engineering. Part of this process is to work with others to cooperatively design hardware and fluids with the goal to improve fuel economy and other efficiencies. The Shell Lubricants team is providing technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components and recommendations for lubricant needs for use in the Starship truck.
This technical alliance and the opportunity to work closely on the development of the next generation AirFlow truck is exciting, especially having the ability to test some of our newest engine oils in a cutting-edge vehicle will provide us with some valuable information as we create lower viscosity engine oils without sacrificing performance.
AirFlow Truck Company
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.