Renault Trucks has an experimental project underway based on the potential for improving the efficiency of heavy vehicles called Optifuel Lab 2. It is not the first research program for trucks or tractor units that we know at Tecmovia seeking to reduce the consumption and emissions of these large road monsters, but Renault Trucks is determined to bring the solutions developed in this concept car to market. Starting from four well-defined fronts: aerodynamics, rolling resistance, energy management and driving assistance, the Optifuel Lab 2 project promises significant improvements in consumption.
The first aspect that powerfully draws our attention is the profound redesign that has been introduced to this truck. Starting from the high resistance to advance offered by the aerodynamics of this type of vehicle, the Optifuel Lab 2 does not leave any detail out of study, finding that every surface has been used throughout the truck to channel the air in the best possible way to find the least drag. From the front surface, to the elimination of turbulence in the intermediate and rear area, through the underbody fairing and trailer to avoid the most critical areas.
An extreme example of the importance of aerodynamics is the idea of dispensing with rear-view mirrors, replacing them with video cameras built into the side wings above the cabin.
To minimize energy losses due to rolling resistance, a set of tires developed by Michelin in an experimental phase has been introduced, together with a new lubrication system for the rear axle that acts in a controlled way, thus allowing energy expenditure to be adjusted in real time.
Energy recovery is another key point, rather two key points. On the one hand, Renault Trucks remains convinced of the potential for energy recovery from the heat of the exhaust gases. At the same time, and taking into account the existing space on the highest surface of the tractor and trailer, a set of 48 solar panels with an area of 40 square meters capable of powering the auxiliary system has been integrated.
To conclude, Renault Trucks has placed special emphasis on driving, developing a set of applications and technologies that make the engine control system intelligent, adapting its operation to road conditions, orography, weather, etc.
By attacking these four fronts, Renault Trucks intends to offer the first results collected in open circulation at the beginning of 2015, being very optimistic about the improvements achieved by each and every one of the solutions introduced