Variable engine-driven accessories are being tested for their fuel-saving capabilities on various OEM SuperTruck designs, such as this one by Volvo.

Variable engine-driven accessories are being tested for their fuel-saving capabilities on various OEM SuperTruck designs, such as this one by Volvo.

NASHVILLE --The Technology and Maintenance Council and The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) go together like peas and carrots, as a certain cinematic shrimp entrepreneur likes to say. So it's no surprise that NACFE operational leader Mike Roeth chose the TMC meeting here to release the organization's findings and a Confidence Report on the fuel efficiency of Variable Engine-Driven Accessories that many OEMs are evaluating today as possible fuel economy enhancement systems on future powertrains.

These technologies include waste heat recovery systems and high voltage electrical systems, which OEMs and component suppliers are currently evaluating and have been testing on various OEM SuperTruck incarnations.

NACFE Confidence Reports are painstakingly researched by truck industry technology leaders and examine existing or emerging technology to give North American fleets baseline information on how a technology works,and what kind of fuel economy benefit or ROI they can expect to see whne using it in real-world operations.

The Variable Engine-Driven Confidence Report is NACFE's second look at an emerging trucking technology, coming on the heels of its Two-Truck Platooning report last year.

Because the technology is so new, and very much in early stages of development, Roeth said initial findings were modest in terms of eventual deployment and the potential for fuel savings and ROI. But, he stressed, much work was being done to improve these systems and advised fleets to continue to review advances in this area of powertrain development as further advances possible.

That said, the NAFCE's current report found the following on Variable Engine-Driven Accessories:

  • Fuel economy gains are modest
  • Fleets are concerned about complexity and reliability
  • Payback is currently insufficient for high levels of adoption
  • High voltage and waste heat recovery systems offer the best potential now for improved ROI

Additionally, Roeth said NACFE is recommending the following policies as development of Variable Engine-Driven Accessories continues:

  • Fleets should continue to review and study these systems
  • Manufacturers should continue to develop these systems
  • Fleets should monitor the improvements driven by Greenhouse Gas Regulations
  • High voltage systems will enable payback -- but accessories will not be the driver for higher voltage systems

The entire NACFE Variable Engine-Driven Accessory Confidence Report can be dowloaded here.

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