France-based Renault Trucks, a part of the Volvo Group, has recorded 12.8 percent reduction in fuel consumption through their laboratory vehicle, Urban Lab 2. They claim to have achieved this initial target after seven months of testing and 4,500 km of driving on open roads or a roll-bench. The vehicle that is being used in comparison for this test is the Renault Trucks’ D Wide. The test results have confirmed a total reduction of 3.5 litres of fuel and 9 kg of CO2 per 100km.
Renault Trucks had initiated this project called the EDIT (Efficient Distribution Truck) along with six partners, namely Valeo, Lamberet, Michelin, BeNomad, INSA de Lyon (LamCos) and IFSTTAR (LICIT). The aim of the project was to achieve a 13 percent reduction in fuel consumption in urban and regional use for controlled-temperature trucks. They achieved this feat by optimising aerodynamics, the drive train, tyres and vehicle-infrastructure communication.
Tested on 119kms of open-road cycle and with 8,00km of measurements
The calibrated Urban Lab 2 and the reference vehicle were both tested over the open-road cycle that consisted of 12km in urban environments, 50 km on regional roads and 57km on motorways. Separately evaluated simulation software was incorporated to correlate over 8,000km of measurements.
The aerodynamics of the truck has been designed in collaboration with Lamberet who installed evaporators into the roof of the body to improve the airflow. As part of the design, Urban Lab 2 comes with a refrigeration unit installed within the wheelbase of the vehicle. Other aerodynamic features include rear spoilers, retractable textile side deflectors, access steps, streamlined wheel covers, a roof deflector, spoiler and cabin side deflectors. The mirrors have been replaced by cameras. The company claims that the aerodynamic design proved to be quite beneficial in peri-urban environments.
Urban Lab 2 comes with a combination of micro-hybrid and ‘Stop & Start’ technologies, designed in association with Valeo, to maximise the energy recovered both during braking and over-run.
Low resistance tyres and highly predictable traffic
Urban Lab 2 features an onboard navigation system developed by BeNomad, together with a traffic light communication system. This infrastructure connectivity enables the Urban Lab 2 to receive information from traffic lights and calculate whether it is more efficient to accelerate or brake. To establish the impact of this technology on fuel consumption, measurements were first taken on the urban segments of the test cycle to characterise actual traffic and lights. A number of simulations took different traffic conditions into account and staggered start times were required to obtain reliable statistics.
Urban Lab 2 is fitted with Michelin prototype tyres, developed to reduce rolling resistance without negatively impacting other performance criteria, such as safety, grip or longevity. Renault Trucks claims that Michelin’s simulation model helps to measure the fuel consumption more accurately as compared to the standard method of using a fixed optimal rolling resistance coefficient.
Renault Trucks has confirmed that the EDIT project has helped them to better understand the physical mechanisms that led to this reduction and to develop the technical solutions of its future products, particularly to meet future CO2 emission standards. They further confirmed that Urban Lab 2 was not designed to be marketed in its current form, but the most effective technologies in terms of performance may well be integrated in production vehicles.
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