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Future of diesel technologies in transportation bright, exec says

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Future of diesel technologies in transportation bright, exec says
Today, more than one-third of all the largest heavy-duty trucks in operation use the newest generation of near-zero emissions clean diesel technology, according to the Diesel Technology Forum. (The Trucker file photo)

DALLAS — The future for diesel technologies in freight transportation is bright, even as new fuels and technologies enter the marketplace, thanks to diesel’s improving efficiency, even lower emissions, advanced biofuel capabilities and unique combination of value for moving freight.

This is the insight shared by Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer, speaking Wednesday on a panel at Fuels2019, the annual meeting of the Fuels Institute. Schaeffer cited the continued overall dominant role of diesel technology in commercial trucking applications and offered perspective about its role in the future.

“Forecasters seem to agree that, for the next five to 15 years and beyond, diesel will remain the primary technology for commercial trucking, thanks to its unique combination of features,” Schaeffer said. “Will there be some inroads made in niche fleets and operations using all electric, hybrid or hydrogen technologies? Yes, of course. Some of these technologies are in development and limited use today, as manufacturers are developing a range of fuels and technologies to best serve their customers. It’s safe to say we’ll also see an increasing use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuels, as well as the next-generation of diesel that is even nearer-to-zero emissions.”

Research from the Forum, conducted with IHS Markit, shows that numbers of the newest, most advanced and lowest emitting technologies in today’s commercial trucking fleet are rapidly on the rise.

Today, more than one-third of all the largest heavy-duty trucks in operation use the newest generation of near-zero emissions clean diesel technology.

The Forum said this translates into substantial societal benefits: 26 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 59 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the air; 98% fewer emissions of particulate matter; and an average $2,600 in fuel-cost savings per truck, adding up to 138 million barrels of crude oil saved.

“The real winners in all of this will be truckers who will have more fuel-efficient fuel and technology choices than ever before,” Schaeffer said, adding that the Forum was confident diesel’s proven strengths will be challenging to beat.

He listed what he felt were those strengths:

  • The diesel engine is the most energy-efficient internal combustion engine, delivering power density, reliability and durability at a low cost of ownership. Diesel technologies retain a high resale value and are able to be remanufactured and rebuilt over and over again.
  • Truckers have access to a nationwide network of fueling stations, and an unmatched global service and parts network.
  • Modern diesel engines boast near-zero emissions performance for nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM) – and new rules on the horizon from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board mean that we’ll soon see even further reductions in NOx emissions from heavy-duty commercial trucks.

“Diesel technologies have a proven track-record of continuous improvement. Engine manufacturers are always looking to the horizon, developing new technologies and strategies to deliver more fuel efficiency, further emissions reductions, and more optimized performance,” Schaeffer said. “Breakthrough demonstrations of long-haul diesel truck efficiency have proved these technologies capable of nearly doubling the MPG of previous generations of commercial trucks. There are also some very thoughtful discussions about matching technologies with applications, such as dual-fuel battery/electric and diesel drayage trucks for port applications.”

Schaeffer said today’s generation of heavy-duty diesel trucks are the cleanest, and most scrutinized, diesel vehicles ever made.

“Over the last 15 years, truck and engine makers have worked to virtually eliminate emissions from diesel engines,” he said. “The transition to ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel coupled with advancements in engine combustion, turbocharging and high-pressure fuel injection, and the addition of advanced clean air chemistry achieved by utilizing diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems coupled with particulate filters, has enabled today’s heavy-duty diesel truck engines to achieve near-zero levels of emissions.

“Five years from now, the new diesel trucks rolling off manufacturing lines will be even more fuel efficient and lower in emissions. We’re confident these clean, high-performance vehicles will continue to have a major role to play in ensuring fast, dependable freight delivery in the U.S. and around the world.”

 

 

 

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Volvo Trucks North America’s driver display activation allows remote programming

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Volvo trucks north america’s driver display activation allows remote programming
Volvo's driver display activation allows drivers to update parameters and software without an appointment and can be done at their leisure in less time than a typical break or fill up. (Courtesy: Volvo Trucks North America)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Volvo Trucks’ remote programming services allow drivers and decision-makers to update parameters and software that enhance the performance of a truck’s engine, transmission and aftertreatment. With the new driver display activation, when parameters or software updates are available, an icon will flash on the instrument cluster screen. At the next planned stop, the driver can activate the update via the truck’s instrument cluster and be back on the road again within minutes.

“With the introduction of Volvo Trucks’ new driver display activation, the process time for software and parameter updates has been improved by an average of 50 percent,” said Ash Makki, Volvo Trucks North America product marketing manager. “Now, from customer initiation to completion, an update can be done in less time than a driver typically takes for a break or fill up.”

This new service means that instead of scheduling an appointment to complete uploads, drivers can completely upgrade the software and parameters on their own, from anywhere, without the need for personal assistance from a Volvo Action Services team member.
However, agent assistance will still be available through Volvo Trucks’ Uptime Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“We still have agents who follow the success of each update,” Makki said. “We believe in having real people behind our technology 24/7.”

Software updates are critical to maximize vehicle performance and uptime.

“There’s a direct connection between keeping a truck updated with the latest software and reducing fault codes, in addition to the truck running more efficiently, improving the environmental footprint and reducing operational costs,” said Conal Deedy, Volvo Trucks North America director of commercial telematics solutions.

In addition to system updates, the new driver display activation allows drivers and fleets to change parameters on the truck to alter the vehicle’s performance. Parameters for various applications can be customized and packaged in kits that can set maximum road speed, cruise-speed limit, shift patterns, idle shutdown time, etc. This ensures the truck is optimally configured for the environment in which it is operating.

For instance, a driver or fleet owner with trucks that regularly travel into Ontario, Canada, might want to reconfigure speed settings when leaving the U.S. and reset those parameters when the truck crosses back over the border. And for fleets, all trucks can now be batch-updated at one time using the driver display activation without having to contact the Volvo Trucks’ Uptime Center for each truck in the fleet affected by the update.

The new driver display activation will use a factory-installed telematics gateway, leveraging existing Volvo Trucks technology. No extra hardware is required. Every new Volvo-powered truck will have driver display activation available free of charge for the first two years, bundled with Volvo Trucks’ Remote Diagnostics services.

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Greenlots, Volvo Trucks partner for installation of chargers for LIGHTS project

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charging an electric truck
Greenlots installed two fully operational 50kW DC fast chargers in Fontana, California, and has plans to install an additional 150kW DC fast charger in the next month. (Courtesy: Greenlots)

LOS ANGELES — Greenlots, a member of the Shell Group and a leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging and energy management solutions, has announced the installation of charging infrastructure for a fleet of electrified commercial trucks as part of its ongoing partnership with Volvo Trucks. The heavy-duty fleet charging stations are the first of four installations by Greenlots at warehouses across southern California.

“Heavy-duty fleets have unique charging characteristics and needs,” said Harmeet Singh, chief technology officer at Greenlots. “Greenlots’ SKY platform is built for scale and designed to deliver a charging solution that meets Volvo Trucks’ electric fleet’s unique requirements and is optimized for cost and power. The open standards-based charging approach built into Greenlots’ platform enables Volvo to future-proof its investments in the charging infrastructure.”

On Tuesday, February 11, Volvo hosted an invite-only innovation showcase at TEC Equipment Warehouse based in Fontana, California, to share information about its multi-year Volvo Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) project, which aims to transform the way goods are transported. This public-private statewide initiative, comprised of partners including Greenlots, puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy and improve public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

“We’re excited to be part of the development of a battery-electric transport eco-system along with our Volvo LIGHTS project partners,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “This project is unique in the sense of its scope, and that it takes into account the entire system, with the charging infrastructure provided by Greenlots being one of the key components to this transport solution.”

Greenlots installed two fully operational 50kW DC fast chargers at the Fontana site and has plans to install an additional 150kW DC fast charger in the next month. All of the charging equipment for the project is connected to Greenlots’ SKY EV Charging Network Software, which enables seamless management of Volvo’s fleet and charging stations while balancing grid demand. Greenlots’ range of software solutions safely and cost-effectively balances the power demands of electric fleet vehicles, warehouse facilities, and the electric grid. Its software provides fleet owners the lowest total cost of ownership by managing energy usage to prevent high utility bills, while also supplying grid operators with the tools needed to safely integrate EVs and renewables onto the grid. For more information, visit greenlots.com/about/newsroom.

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Transflo adds Surfsight video technology to its platform of freight solutions

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Transflo adds surfsight vehicle video technology to its platform of freight solutions
Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity. (Courtesy: Transflo)

TAMPA, Florida — Transflo, a mobile, telematics and business process automation provider to the transportation industry, has announced the AI-12 Dual Facing Dashcam solution as part of its Mobile+ ecosystem of digital and telematics solutions for truck fleets and drivers.

Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity.

Integrated with Transflo’s telematics platform, the cloud-connected Surfsight dashcam uses front-facing and cabin-facing cameras. The camera uses built-in artificial intelligence to detect hazards on the road, and infrared to recognize driver distractions in the vehicle. The driver is automatically alerted.

Surfsight streams from vehicles to secure cloud-based servers, providing fleet managers with continuous access to video. Managers can review video of groups or individual vehicles via a customized, secure, online dashboard using a web browser running on any type of device. Surfsight also provides access to on-demand video retrieval and review on the company’s cloud platform.

Surfsight dashcams cost just $200 and monthly subscriptions start at $25 per month as part of Transflo Bundle+, which extends the capabilities of the Transflo Mobile+ platform.

“Increasingly, video is an important tool for improving safety and operational visibility,” said Doug Schrier, vice president of product and innovation for Transflo. “The Transflo Bundle+ platform is the ideal way to incorporate vehicle video and telematics into your digital workflow.”

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