Shell Airflow Starship semi truck aims for a fuel efficiency record

The Shell Airflow Starship is a carbon-fiber-bodied, diesel powered semi truck with a goal: to be the most fuel efficient big rig in the game. Shell and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) have come together in hopes of learning more about maximizing freight efficiency. In an attempt to blast freight-ton fuel economy records, they came up with a project. On May 17, 2018, trucker and co-developer Bob Sliwa departed from San Diego, California and headed to Jacksonville, Florida with 50,000 pounds of cargo.

Stretched axle ratios keep the engine speed as low as 800 rpm on the highway. The electric axle helps apply torque when going up hills. The 18 speed automated manual transmission has a custom-calibrated control module that is optimized to provide the best fuel efficiency. The truck also has a custom automatic tire inflation system so that tire pressure is always optimized. The Starship boasts forward-collision warning and electronic stability control. There is also a custom designed digital instrument cluster that will allow Sliwa to keep track of all the systems. As reported by Digital Journal, Sliwa set a record in 2012 after driving a Bullet truck coast to coast. He achieved 13.5 miles per gallon while hauling 65,000 pounds. This week, he hopes to set another record.

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