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Shell Debuts Fuel-Efficient Starship Concept Truck

March 06, 2018

The Starship Project is a concept Class 8 truck that maximizes fuel efficiency using a combination of custom and currently available technologies. Photo: Deborah Lockridge
The Starship Project is a concept Class 8 truck that maximizes fuel efficiency using a combination of custom and currently available technologies. Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Shell and Airflow Truck Company have debuted the full-size version of the company’s Starship Project truck – a concept Class 8 truck that maximizes fuel efficiency using a combination of currently available technologies.

The long-teased Starship Project concept truck was finally unveiled at  The Technology and Maintenance Council Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The project was first announced in 2015 and was designed by Bob Silwa’s AirFlow Truck Company, which produces hyper-efficient commercial trucks.

“We seek projects such as the Starship initiative to keep Shell at the leading edge of technology development and energy efficiency,” said Bob Mainwaring, technology manager for innovation, Shell Lubricants. “The transportation industry is constantly changing, and our goal is to be at the forefront of innovation by collaborating with companies like AirFlow and others to develop creative solutions that provide benefits for years to come.”

The body of the Starship Project tractor is a custom-made aerodynamic design made of carbon fiber. This includes the side skirts, hood, and front end. A custom, Department of Transportation-approved wrap-around windshield was designed specifically for the truck. The trailer includes energy efficient features such as full side skirts to reduce drag and a 5,000-watt solar array on top of the trailer to power interior accessories and reduce the energy load.

The Starship is powered by a 2017 Cummins X15 Efficiency 6-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower and 1,850 ft.-lbs. of torque that has been paired with a transmission that has been calibrated to run at very low speeds, down to 800 rpm.

The truck also makes use of Shell’s low viscosity synthetic lubricants, running on the Shell Rotella T6 Ultra 5W-30, which is an API-FA-4 engine oil that has been formulated to provide better fuel economy, improved high and low temperature performance and meets the requirements for many low emissions engines.

It will also use a number of full synthetic Shell Lubricants products including Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-80 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil. In addition, Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant will provide excellent high-temperature protection and heat transfer. Shell Rotella Diesel Exhaust Fluid, a high purity diesel exhaust fluid, will also be in the truck.

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