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Navistar CatalIST SuperTruck


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Navistar SuperTruck Beats DOE Efficiency Goals, Hits 13 MPG

Heavy Duty Trucking  /  September 28, 2016

Navistar has revealed that its SuperTruck program demonstration vehicle, CatalIST, exceeded the improvement goals set by the Department of Energy for the SuperTruck program.

CatalIST achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 104% compared to the DOE’s control vehicle, sipping diesel at 13 mpg. The vehicle also demonstrated 50.5% Brake Thermal Efficiency and Navistar said it is on the path towards 55% BTE.

"The CatalIST's significant improvements in freight efficiency, achieved with the support of DOE's SuperTruck program, demonstrate tremendous potential for reduction in the trucking industry's consumption of energy," said Mark Stasell, vice president, product development. "In addition, a number of the technology innovations we have achieved through the program are already being implemented in production vehicles today."

The vehicle was named CatalIST because it will serve as the catalyst for significant improvements in future commercial trucks. The last three letters of CatalIST stand for International SuperTruck, referencing the vehicle’s International Trucks branding.  

Through the program, the company was able to make improvements to its own vehicle technology. One innovation from the program was Navistar’s predictive cruise control, which looks ahead of the vehicle and recognizes terrain, continuously calculating the most efficient speed and gear for better fuel economy in real time.

Other improvements included:

  • Advanced integration of Navistar N13 Engine utilizing proprietary intelligent controls and high-efficiency combustion.
  • Reduction in aerodynamic drag through replacement of cab- and hood-mounted mirrors with a series of cameras and interior-mounted monitors, which also yield equal or better indirect vision for the driver.
  • A new LED headlamp system that reduces lamp size for a more aerodynamic shape and cuts electrical power requirements by greater than 80%, while improving luminous output and light color for improved night-time direct driver vision and reduced driver fatigue.
  • An all-new shape with a sloped windshield and wedged cab for improved aerodynamics. Innovative use of lighter-weight carbon-fiber panels in the upper body, roof headers, back panel, and dash panel.
  • A hybrid front suspension and lightweight rear suspension that leverages lightweight alloys with composite materials, reducing weight and enabling an electronic ride height management system, which provides dynamic ride height and pitch control for improved aerodynamics.
  • Aerodynamic improvements that reduce the trailer's drag coefficient by more than 30%.

The vehicle is part of the DOE’s SuperTruck program – a five-year research and development initiative aimed at improving freight efficiency, based in the measure of the payload carried while burning less fuel.

Its objective is to develop and demonstrate a 50% improvement in overall freight efficiency on a Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle as measured in ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel.


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Navistar's SuperTruck Concept, CatalIST, Demonstrates Engine and Fuel Efficiency

Transport Topics  /  September 28, 2016

Navistar Inc. is the fourth and final original equipment manufacturer to produce a SuperTruck concept vehicle as part of a Department of Energy vehicle research program.

Known as CatalIST, with the last three letters standing for International SuperTruck, the experimental Class 8 hit 50.3% for brake thermal efficiency, up from 42% in the 2009 baseline. BTE measures actual work done by an engine as a percentage of the potential for work.

CatalIST is a modified ProStar tractor hooked to an altered 53-foot Wabash National Corp. trailer. Freight efficiency, measured in ton-miles transported per gallon of fuel used, more than doubled, gaining 104%, Navistar said in a Sept. 28 statement.

“CatalIST’s significant improvements in freight efficiency, achieved with the support of DOE’s SuperTruck program, demonstrate tremendous potential for reduction in the trucking industry’s consumption of energy,” said Mark Stasell, Navistar vice president of product development. He said some of the new systems, such as predictive cruise control, are already used on current production vehicles.

SuperTruck provided four OEMs with grant money for research and development that had to be matched equally by the manufacturer.

Volvo Trucks North America was the most recent OEM to demonstrate a SuperTruck, rolling out its version Sept. 13 in Washington, D.C., at DOE headquarters. Daimler Trucks North America and a combination of Cummins Inc. and Peterbilt Motors Co. have also demonstrated SuperTruck vehicles.

In August, DOE announced details on SuperTruck II, which will feature the same four participants.

Navistar used one of its N13 engines to power CatalIST. The N13 is based on a MAN SE European truck engine (D2676).

Navistar said CatalIST’s miles per gallon rating was 13, but declined to release a 2009 baseline level.

Technologies used by Navistar, parent of International trucks, include: intelligent controls and high-efficiency combustion for the engine; reducing aerodynamic drag by replacing exterior, side-view mirrors with cameras; greater use of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs; a new cab shape that incorporates carbon-fiber panels; and a suspension made of lightweight alloys.

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Advanced cruise control system pushes Navistar SuperTruck to double efficiency standards set by DOE

Overdrive  /  September 28, 2016

Navistar on Wednesday announced its SuperTruck demonstration vehicle, CatalIST, achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 104 percent – more than double the 50 percent goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for its SuperTruck program.

Against a 2009 base line model truck, CatalIST achieved fuel economy of 13 miles per gallon and demonstrated 50.3 percent Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) and a path towards 55 percent BTE, Navistar adds.

Mark Stasell, Navistar vice president of product development, says CatalIST demonstrates the potential for reduction in the trucking industry’s consumption of energy.

Stasell pointed to Navistar’s predictive cruise control technology as one of the technical innovations the company achieved through the program. Predictive cruise control looks ahead of the vehicle and recognizes the terrain and continuously calculates the most efficient speed and gear for optimal fuel economy in real time. Unlike conventional predictive cruise technology, the company’s predictive cruise control uses preinstalled GPS maps and the latest commercial route data to make adjustments to cruising speed without the need to pre-drive the route.

Other improvements over the course of the five year project included:

  • Integration of Navistar N13 Engine utilizing proprietary intelligent controls and high efficiency combustion.

  • Reduction in aerodynamic drag through replacement of cab- and hood-mounted mirrors with a series of cameras and interior-mounted monitors, which also yield equal or better indirect vision for the driver.

  • A new LED headlamp system that reduces lamp size for a more aerodynamic shape and cuts electrical power requirements by greater than 80 percent, while improving luminous output and light color for improved night-time direct driver vision and reduced driver fatigue.

  • An all-new shape with a sloped windshield and wedged cab for improved aerodynamics. Innovative use of lighter-weight carbon-fiber panels in the upper body, roof headers, back panel, and dash panel.

  • A hybrid front suspension and lightweight rear suspension that leverages lightweight alloys with composite materials, reducing weight and enabling an electronic ride height management system, which provides dynamic ride height and pitch control for improved aerodynamics.

  • Aerodynamic improvements that reduce the trailer’s drag coefficient by more than 30 percent.

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Navistar demonstrates SuperTruck, platooning

Truck News  /  October 14, 2016

SuperTruck changes shape at highway speeds

Navistar’s super-cool SuperTruck actually changes shape as it reaches highway speeds, lowering the front axle up to two inches and the trailer axles by as much as three, giving the tractor-trailer an airfoil shape.

The company demonstrated its SuperTruck this week at its sprawling test track in New Carlisle, Ind. Dean Opperman, chief engineer for SuperTruck and advanced technologies, said the design of the Department of Energy-funded experiment actually began with the trailer.

“We designed this vehicle from the back forward,” he explained. “There’s a fundamental aerodynamic principle that you get to a point in designing the front edge of something that you can’t make any advancements in it, so you clean up the back.”

The trailer was dressed up in skirts that extend all the way to the rear and a bogey treatment that directs air around the axles. The side skirts meet up with a redesigned trailer tail, which is longer and taller than those on the road today.

A ball-and-socket gap treatment closes the trailer gap but still allows full articulation. Mirrors have been replaced with tiny cameras that display multiple views on mirror-shaped displays mounted inside the cab. Additional cameras provide a view of the blindside at the front right corner of the truck.

“It allows the driver to make the best use of the real estate to the right when turning left and when turning corners. It really helps let me know where I am with respect to curbs,” Opperman explained.

But the highlight is the ride height control system, which kicks in at 50 mph.

“What it’s going to do is change the pitch of the vehicle to resemble that of an airfoil, which is the best aerodynamic shape you can have,” Opperman explained. The transformation is not noticeable from inside the truck but an engineer displayed the lowering of the front and trailer axles on a laptop inside the cab. Only the tag axle permanently maintains its position.

The truck cruised a three-mile oval at 1,000 rpm at 60 mph thanks to the tall rear axle ratio of 1.91. The truck is powered by a Navistar N13 engine, aided by an electric hybrid system that also contributes power. The diesel engine produced just 60 hp to move the truck along the track at 60 mph.

Kinetic energy is recovered during braking and used to power the electric motor, as well as an additional pneumatic motor.

When the truck slows to 30 mph, it resumes its original ride height for operation in the city. When it stops, the engine automatically shuts off – but unlike engine stop/start systems found on passenger cars today, it continues to provide heating and cooling, courtesy the electric motor. At low speeds, weight is shifted to the drive axle for improved traction.

The electric system provides cooling when the truck is parked, not only at stop signs and red lights, but for longer periods such as when fueling or stopping for lunch. Opperman said apps are being developed, which will allow the driver to set the climate control before arriving at the truck. Additional power is derived from solar panels on the roof of the trailer.

The SuperTruck project was funded by the US DoE with an expectation of a 50% improvement in freight efficiency compared to a 2009 baseline. Navistar blew the target away, achieving a 104% improvement and hitting 13 mpg. The truck has been dubbed the CatalIST, with IST representing International SuperTruck. Navistar and other OEMs have been promised a second round of funding to discover what else is possible through a SuperTruck II project.

Navistar also demonstrated its ability to operate truck platoons, with following vehicles driven autonomously. International has been working with Texas A&M to develop and test the system. I rode along in the second truck in a two-truck platoon and watched as the driver joined the platoon and then removed his hands and feet from the steering wheel and pedals.

The truck followed the one in front as close as 15 meters and steered itself in accordance with the movements of the lead truck. Navistar engineers demonstrated lane changes, but no, the following truck doesn’t activate its own signal light. Most of the driving, however, was done hands-free.

“The simple theory is, trucks are connected to each other and take the human element out of the trailing truck,” explained Denny Mooney, chief engineer with Navistar. “When the lead truck has a braking event you have instant braking on the trailing trucks. It allows better fuel economy for the trailing trucks.”

A recent report from the National Council for Freight Efficiency found two-truck platoons can reduce fuel consumption by 4% averaged across the two vehicles.

Mooney admitted truck platooning is still not ready for prime time.

“There are a lot of issues with making that practical in the real world,” he acknowledged. “We are in that game on the technologies that are going to lead to some kind of autonomous (driving).”


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Up close: Navistar CatalIST SuperTruck

Fleet Owner  /  October 26, 2016

What could be cooler than the SuperTruck concept vehicles that have been built by North American OEMs with research funding from U.S. Dept. of Energy? Taking one out for a spin, that’s what. And Navistar let Fleet Owner do just that earlier this month when the newly unveiled CatalIST was on hand during a product demonstration day at the company’s 700-acre test facility here.

Powered by the Navistar N13 engine, the CatalIST’s refined aerodynamics, use of lighter-weight materials, and technologies such as predictive cruise deliver fuel efficiency of better than 13 miles per gallon.

Slide Show - http://fleetowner.com/equipment/close-navistar-catalist-supertruck#slide-0-field_images-204171

“We’ve literally designed this vehicle from the back forward, because there is a fundamental principle in aerodynamic design that says until you clean up the back of the truck and the trailer, you’re going to be limited by what you do in the front,” explained Navistar’s Dean Opperman, chief engineer, advanced vehicle technologies.

“Fundamentally, the design of the trailer and tractor impact each other. We worked directly with Wabash National, and were able to optimize our design around their specific technologies—and we will continue to do that with all different types of trailer aerodynamics technologies,” Opperman said. “In a perfect world, we would like to be in control of both systems, but that’s never going to happen.  But once we knew where we were going, it solidified a lot of things we wanted to do up front.”

Among the special touches on the CalalIST trailer by Wabash National, for instance, are the skirt design, the “ball and socket” passive gap treatment, a bogie treatment on the tandem axles, and an extended boat tail design, Opperman pointed out.

Most significantly, the overall shape of the trailer is the key to developing a more optimum, wing-like airflow by lowering the front and rear of the vehicle.

As the CatalIST reaches highway speed and “changes shape,” the load bias also shifts forward more toward the tag axle and the low-rolling resistance single tires.

Because of the improved aerodynamics and reduced rolling resistance, the CatalIST needs only about 80 h.p. to cruise at 65 m.p.h., Opperman noted.

The laptop displays telematics data from the various systems, including engine speed and downspeeding performance, horsepower in use, hybrid charging and discharge, solar power input from the trailer roof, and the vehicle height controls down to the axle and the corresponding load bias.

For the SuperTruck program, Wabash National likewise leveraged some existing advanced designs and materials to improve fuel efficiency. 

In order to give the tractor-trailer the airfoil shape without exceeding height limits, the project trailer utilized smaller wheels and tires as well as the hydraulic control mechanism.

The CatalIST trailer’s skirt is based on the new Wabash Ventix DRS (Drag Reduction System), in which segmented side panels manage air flow across the entire underbody.

Navistar continues to refine, searching for the ideal aerodynamic shape for a working heavy-duty commercial vehicle.

Among the aero touches, a camera system replaces and improves upon traditional mirrors.

A new LED headlamp system reduces lamp size for a more aerodynamic shape and cuts electrical power requirements by greater than 80 percent.

Along with the tight gap, the tractor and trailer fairings are mutually optimized, using computational fluid dynamics, to minimize drag.  

A polycarbonate windshield allows for "a more aggressive curvature" that, in turn, better manages the airflow around the cab, Opperman noted. Combined with the camera system that replaces mirrors, the result is a significant reduction in noise and buffeting at highway speeds.

Low rolling resistance tires and aero wheel covers are also part of the package.

If the sun is just right, you might notice that the CalalIST is based on the International ProStar. But the CatalIST project is aimed squarely at Navistar International's future products.


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Wabash’s Aerodynamic Devices Reduce Drag by 30% on Navistar’s SuperTruck

Trailer/Body Builders  /  December 12, 2016

Wabash National Corporation has released details about its trailer that was part of Navistar’s SuperTruck combination vehicle, including numerous aerodynamic trailer devices, three of which were based on the company’s commercially available Ventix DRS skirt, AeroFin XL tail device and nose fairing. The aerodynamic improvements reduced the trailer’s drag coefficient by more than 30 percent, according to Navistar.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program, a five-year research and development initiative, focused on improving freight efficiency (the amount of freight hauled per gallon of fuel used) by 50 percent compared to 2009 base model heavy-duty tractor-trailer vehicles.

“Each of the trailer components selected for the SuperTruck combination vehicle were designed as concepts of what the next generation of aerodynamic devices will look like from Wabash National,” said Brian Bauman, vice president and general manager, Wabash Composites. “On the heels of the GHG2 rule being finalized, the industry will need to innovate in order to meet fuel efficiency standards in the future. The SuperTruck initiative allowed us to leverage our fleet-proven aerodynamic technologies and years of aerodynamic research and development to innovate with our customer in mind.”

In addition to the aerodynamic device additions, Wabash National reduced the weight of the trailer by more than 2,000 pounds, compared to its 2009 dry van. All components used to reduce the weight of the trailer, such as wide-base single tires and a variety of aluminum componentry, are commercially available.

Wabash National was part of Navistar’s SuperTruck team—one of four industry teams to participate in the SuperTruck program. Navistar unveiled its SuperTruck on September 28, reporting a 104 percent improvement in freight efficiency. The average tractor-trailer gets 6 miles per gallon; Navistar and Wabash National’s SuperTruck combination vehicle gets over 13 miles per gallon.

According to the DOE’s Office of Science, approximately 20 percent of the SuperTruck efficiency improvements come from advances in the truck’s internal combustion engines, with further efficiency gains attributed to improved aerodynamics, weight reduction, reduced rolling resistance with high-efficiency tires and specialty equipment that limits idle time.

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Climb Inside the World’s Largest Wind Tunnel

A cold wind is whipping past, but the engineers scurrying around the giant room don’t seem to mind. They’re busy moving a fishing rod-like smoke wand this way and that, watching vaporized mineral oil stream off its tip and flow like a contrail over the sleekest semi you’ve ever seen.

The engineers call this space “the 80-by-120;” it’s the largest wind tunnel on the planet, 80 feet tall and 120 feet wide, big enough to hold a Boeing 737, the star of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex in Mountain View, California. The truck is Navistar’s “Catalist,” a concept built to cut drag and boost fuel efficiency. The 80-by-120 is one of the few places that can really put the new design to the test.

Sitting on the western edge of NASA’s Ames Research Center, the 80-by-120 blows through superlatives. It is its own biggest fan. It’s always in heavy rotation. This isn’t just spin! Its six turbines—40 feet wide, each powered by a 22,500-horsepower motor—can hit 180 rotations per minute, generating 110 mph winds in the tunnel and moving 60 tons of air every second. At that speed, they guzzle 106 megawatts of electricity—enough to power a town of 100,000 people.

The turbines sit at the back of the tunnel; 1,400 feet away, in the front, is a screen door the size of a football field, which sucks in air from the outside, but not things like geese and NASA employees. After charging the length of the tunnel and passing the turbines, the air vents to the sky. That’s good for the folks on the ground uninterested in recreating Mary Poppins, but a potential problem for the commercial jets landing at and taking off from the nearby San Jose International Airport. So before spinning the turbines to full speed, the Air Force warns pilots about the risk of turbulence.

A smaller wind tunnel opened here in 1944, and tested Cold War jets and models of the Space Shuttle. The big one opened in 1987, large enough for helicopters with 65-foot rotors and the parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars. “You’re able to do a lot of things at full scale that you’re not able to do in tunnels that are much smaller,” says Scott Waltermire, who runs the aerodynamic complex.

That’s why Navistar showed up with its truck, which a crane dropped into place (the walls of the tunnel open up for easy access). The Chicago-based truckmaker has spent five years working on the concept big rig, with a $20 million grant through the Department of Energy’s Supertruck II program.

Navistar’s “Catalist” Supertruck (the “ist” is for International Super Truck) packs a mild hybrid powertrain, running auxiliary systems like the A/C off a battery, charged by rooftop solar panels and regenerative braking.

And it looks pretty sharp. Sleek cameras instead of bulky sideview mirrors. “Super single” wide tires instead of two skinnier ones side by side. Sophisticated trailer skirts and a boat tail to smooth the air flowing over the truck.

“If you think of the analogy of a boat going through the water a large wake behind it, we’re aiming to reduce that wake that the truck creates,” says Navistar aerodynamic engineer Craig Czlapinski. The result is a truck that Navistar says delivers a whopping 13 miles to the gallon, even when 80 percent full. (A typical 18-wheeler gets about 6 mpg.)

They’ve come to the wind tunnel to make it even better. The opening test keeps the wind speed low, about 15 mph. Czlapinski wields the smoke wand, guiding the smoke over the cab and along the trailer. He pokes it between the two, then into the wheel wells, watching for points where the smoke (and thus the air) pulls away from the body. Then the team triggers the turn table on which most of the truck sits, some 55 feet in diameter, turning it a few degrees to the left, then to the right. Wind, after all, doesn’t just hit vehicles head on. They notice smoke leaks through the part of the boat tail, a by-product of drag pulling on the rear doors of the trailer—so they’ll likely add a seal to plug up the leak. Up front, smoke is getting sucked up between the cab and trailer, a sign they should lower the adjustable bit of the roof of the tractor.

After 40 or so minutes in the wind, the engineers shut down the turbines and walk out. For the next test, they’ll sit in the control room—no one’s allowed in the tunnel when it cranks the wind up to highway speeds. The Navistar folks will spend five weeks here, testing the Catalist and some other production models, swapping out cabs and trailers. Then it’s back to Chicago to study the results, stamp out the weaknesses, and perfect the aero.

And while they’re making trucking better for everybody, the wind tunnel’s operators will get ready to put their next giant client on blast.

Video - https://www.wired.com/2017/02/climb-inside-worlds-largest-wind-tunnel/#slide-1

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They're stuck in the 53 foot trailer 80,000 pound gross weight rut. The world's most common freight container is the 40 foot intermodal box, something like 30 million of them out there and most of the container ships and many intermodal rail cars are designed to accommodate them. The 53 is a North American oddball, only 3 million of them in existence and they sorta fit the intermodal cars with some 28s mixed in and they fit almost none of the container ships. As for weight, the U.S. 80k limit is the lowest of any industrialized country.

Real efficiency isn't measured in MPG, it's measured it ton-miles per gallon. Making an obsolete inefficient design like a standard U.S. rig get a few more hundredths of an MPG doesn't accomplish much, for real efficiency and productivity gains we need bigger and heavier trucks. A 30 meter (98 foot) combination with double 40s would offer a third more cube with about the same MPG as a single 53. A 13 axle 30 meter doubles combination under Formula B would give twice the payload of an 80k pounds combination and easily at least a 50% improvement in ton MPG with lower axles weights and less road wear.

But Noooo! Instead the so called leaders of the trucking "industry" are trying to beat more work out of drivers for less money and more miles from a gallon of diesel, ignoring the fact that the real productivity gains of bigger trucks will allow them to pay higher wages and enjoy higher profits... A short sighted lot they are!

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I agree with teamster Grrrls comments on true overall efficiency, but having seen some of the results of putting the present crop of trainees at the wheel of a tractor and 53 footer, can't imagine  putting them in a set of 40 ft pups! Don't expect the insurance carriers will be too thrilled with the concept either! We may see a self driving 53 footer first!

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