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Prime Mover Magazine


Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company launch Starship

Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company have unveiled a new hyper fuel-efficient truck, named Starship, which will soon embark on a US coast-to-coast drive from California to Florida in May 2018.

Freight tonne efficiency and fuel economy will be measured along the journey, with the results shared publicly.

This follows the truck’s first public display at the recent Shell Make the Future California event, held at Sonoma Raceway from 19-22 April 2018.

In designing and building this next-generation vehicle, Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company aimed to demonstrate the possibilities in reducing energy demand in freight transportation.

“Transport accounts for more than one quarter of the world’s total energy use and one-fifth of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions: 72% of which is attributable to road transportation of which trucks make up a significant part. Increasing efficiency and fuel economy in the commercial transport sector could therefore make considerable progress to help reduce emissions,” revealed Robert Mainwaring, Technology Manager for Innovation at Shell Lubricants.

“The relationship with the AirFlow Truck Company and other suppliers to build the Starship Project is part of a collaborative process led by Shell that encourages co-engineering, and has resulted in a truck that will be used to challenge how trucking efficiency is defined. In recent years, we developed a concept car which explored the role that light weighting, streamlining and lubrication played in personal transport. Starship is the Shell Concept Car’s equivalent for freight transport.”

The unique aerodynamic body of the Starship truck is made of lightweight carbon fibre, including the side skirts, hood and front end; and is powered by a 6-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower. The standard engine has been calibrated with the transmission to run at very low speeds and down to 800 rpm.

Shell provided technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components for the Starship Project, as well as recommendations for lubricant needs. Starship uses Shell’s next generation, low viscosity, fully synthetic heavy-duty engine oil to help protect against wear, deposits and oil breakdown, and deliver greater fuel economy.

“As the leader in heavy duty lubricants we have a responsibility to the industry beyond simply our products,” said Chris Guerrero, Shell’s Global Brand Manager for Heavy Duty Lubricants. “That’s why I’m so proud of this collaboration with AirFlow Trucking – which provides a unique opportunity to explore ways to improve fuel economy in transport application. Moving forward, we need creative solutions to the world’s energy challenge such as Starship that will benefit our customers, drivers and the wider world for years to come.”

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