Shell has partnered with the Airflow Truck Company to collaborate on a hyper-aerodynamic, fuel-efficient Class 8 concept truck: Starship. This next-generation concept truck features a custom, aerodynamic design and aims to demonstrate improvements in fuel economy for Class 8 trucks.
Starship will undertake a cross-country run, carrying a full cargo of clean reef material, 18-25 May starting in San Diego, Calif. and ending in Jacksonville, Fla. The run will show ways trucking operations can reduce the energy usage and costs associated with the transportation of goods through improved fuel-economy for a Class 8 truck and the measurement of freight-ton efficiency.
Special Starship features include:
- Bespoke 100% hyper-aerodynamic carbon fiber cab.
- Active grill shutters (active based on temperature to maximize aerodynamics and maximize efficiency) when open, enable air to flow through the radiator and into the engine compartment, allowing cooling. When cooling isn’t needed, the shutters are automatically closed, leaving the air to reroute around the vehicle. The result is less aerodynamic drag and reduced fuel consumption. There is also the additional benefit that closed shutters provide in cold weather, with reduced warm-up time of the engine.
- Aerodynamic boat tail for streamlined air flow around truck and drag reduction. Bespoke design, elongated flaps fit the truck with long side skirts that reduce rear-end drag.
- Hybrid electric axle system for a power boost while climbing grades; an electric motor and axle replace the rear tractor non-driven axle.
- Custom automatic tire inflation system for consistent tire pressure and optimal fuel economy.
- A downspeed axle configuration using advanced engine controls and automated manual transmission provides improved efficiency as well as good pulling power.
- 5,000 watt solar array on trailer roof that charges and stores power in the battery pack for the main 48 volt battery bank on the tractor, powering the normal truck loads such as lights, wipers, blower motors, gauges, air conditioning and heating, microwaves, and other electrical components.
Starship uses full synthetic Shell Heavy Duty Engine Oil; Shell Rotella DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Shell ROTELLA Extended Life Coolant; and Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-85 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil.
Starship is equipped with a 2017 Cummins X15, 6 cylinder, 15-liter engine delivering 400 horsepower and 1,850 lb-ft (2,500 N·m) of torque.
Aaron is an automotive journalist living in Wyoming, USA. His background includes technology, mechanics, commercial vehicles, and new vehicle evaluations. Aaron is a member of several automotive media groups and writes for many well-known publications.