Renault shows off tractor-trailer combination design claimed to cut fuel by 13%14 July 2017

Renault Trucks is continuing its research into improving the energy efficiency of truck and trailer combinations by leading the FALCON (Flexible & Aerodynamic Truck for Low CONsumption) project.

The purpose of this project is to develop and test innovative technology for reducing the fuel consumption and therefore the CO2 emissions of its trucks.

Lower fuel consumption is at the core of the development of Renault Trucks vehicles, which are designed to be profit centres for operators. In line with Optifuel Lab 1 and Optifuel Lab 2, and more recently the Urban Lab 2 project involving distribution vehicles, Renault Trucks is now undertaking the development of a new experimental combination designed to consume 13% less fuel than a standard trailer pulled by a Range T truck.

The work will be focusing on four key priorities, namely a) optimising the aerodynamics of tractor/semi-trailer units, b) developing connected tyres with low rolling resistance, c) introducing new fuel-saving driving aids and d) improving the drive line (engine, gearbox and rear axle) through a new generation of Rankine heat recovery systems and use of special lubricants. With the exception of the Rankine system, this technology is set to be integrated into a demonstration vehicle and tested under real-life traffic conditions at the end of 2018, according to the company.

François Savoye, energy efficiency strategy manager at Renault Trucks, says: “The technical developments are aiming to achieve a maximum return on investment of two years in normal operating conditions, with a view to starting production in the medium term. It is worth noting, however, that over half the technology tested in our previous vehicle laboratory, Optifuel Lab 2, was then used in standard Renault Trucks Range T trucks.”

Due to end in 2020, the FALCON project, which is partly publicly-funded, offers Renault Trucks a new “laboratory on wheels” not only for assessing technology aimed at further reducing the fuel consumption of trailer trucks, but also in preparation for the requirements of future EU regulations on the CO2 emissions of heavy goods vehicles.

The project is led by Renault Trucks with a consortium of partners including Faurecia, Michelin, Total, Fruehauf, Wezzoo, Benomad, Styl'Monde, Polyrim, Enogia, the IFPEN (French Institute of Petroleum), the LMFA (Laboratory of Fluid Transfer and Acoustics at the École Centrale de Lyon) and the IFSTTAR (French institute of science and technology for transport, spatial planning, development and networks).

Will Dalrymple

Related Companies
Michelin Tyre plc
Renault Trucks UK Ltd

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