The Rotella Shell Starship is finally coming home.
The Shell AirFlow Starship ended its highly anticipated maiden voyage across the USA on June 5. The new electric cab began its journey in San Diego in March. From there, it was driven across the country, including stops in Georgia and Kentucky, before its final destination in Florida. Shell celebrated the truck’s successful expedition with a presentation that called attention to the highlights of the trip.
Read part one of this thread on our blog: Big Oil Enters the Electric Trucking Game.
The Starship took three years to design and construct, using the most sophisticated technology to build the “hyper-aerodynamic, super fuel-efficient” truck. It features a custom carbon-fiber cab with special add-ons that enhance its durability and efficiency. The aerodynamic design helps in reducing drag, and solar panels are used to power smaller features, such as windshield wipers. In addition, a “hybrid electric axle system and custom automatic tire inflation” allow for better fuel efficiency.
“Through perseverance and hard work…we arrived here today, not in Jacksonville, but at a crossroads of where we move going forward.”
While the average miles per gallon for a gas-fueled tractor trailer is around six miles, the Starship performed at 10.2 miles per gallon. The more important figure, though, was the ton-miles per gallon for freight-ton efficiency, which combines a cargo’s weight with the amount of fuel consumed.
According to Bob Mainwaring, Shell Lubricant’s technology manager for innovation, the Starship came in at 178.4 ton-miles per gallon. Compared to the national average of only 72 ton-miles per gallon, the Starship is making leaps in trucking technology. Furthermore, Shell estimates that through use of their truck, the industry would see close to 60% emission reduction in a few years.
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