Travelling into a fuel-efficient future

Bob Sliwa tinkers with stuff. As a child, the former trucker took apart his toys. At 16, he turned his Pontiac GTO car into a drag-racing champion. Later, as an adult, he used his life’s savings to buy a truck, then began modifying it to reduce costs and achieve maximum efficiency as he transported goods around the USA.

AirFlow Starship – Hyper-Fuel Efficient Truck

The Starship is an innovative, material step towards reducing emissions and increasing overall efficiency and fuel economy in the transport sector. This next-generation truck features a custom, aerodynamic design and aims to demonstrate improvements in fuel economy for class 8 trucks while lowering CO2 emissions.


Moving people and goods efficiently is vital to economic prosperity. Transport accounts for more than one quarter of the world’s total energy use and one fifth of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Increasing efficiency and fuel economy in the transport sector could make considerable progress to help reduce emissions.


Shell has partnered with the Airflow Truck Company to collaborate on a hyper-aerodynamic, super fuel-efficient class 8 concept truck: Starship. By bringing together the best of today’s existing and custom technologies, we aim to find out just how energy efficient goods transport by road can be – today – and elevate the conversation about the energy transition.

Shell’s Starship fuel-efficient Class 8 concept truck delivers

Dubbed the Starship Initiative, the collaboration between Shell and Airflow Truck Co. on the Starship Class 8 concept truck achieved a 178.4 ton-mpg for freight ton efficiency (FTE) in a recent cross-country drive, which is a nearly 248% improvement over the North America average FTE of 72 ton-mpg for trucks.

Built for the long haul: Shell puts Starship Initiative rig through cross-country test

A Starship landed in Jacksonville this week.

But there were no aliens on board, just 40,000 pounds of reef-building material hauled cross-country in an experimental lightweight truck with streamlining everywhere. And within days of making the trip, it was shown Tuesday at a daylong conference of industry officials and media at Jacksonville’s Prime Osborn Convention Center.

Shell Reveals Starship Initiative Results at Finale Event

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – (June 14, 2018) – On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, employees of Shell, Shell Lubricants customers, national media outlets, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) and CCA’s National Habitat Program, the Building Conservation Trust (BCT), gathered at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in Jacksonville, Florida to learn the results of the Starship cross-country drive.

Shell, AirFlow Truck Company introduce their long-awaited Starship

Three years in the making – and 31 years since its initial design was drafted – the Starship was born on Monday night at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology meeting in Atlanta.

Shell Airflow Starship semi truck leaves San Diego on record fuel-economy run

Truck driver Bob Sliwa hit the road on Thursday night in his carbon-fiber-bodied, diesel-powered semi truck, as he attempts to set a fuel economy record for big rigs by the time he pulls into Jacksonville, Fla., next Wednesday.

Shell-AirFlow Venture To Launch Starship Hyper Fuel-Efficient Truck

Fuel efficiency and freight transport typically exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, but a new Class 8 truck hopes to change that. It’s called the Starship.

It’s a fitting name for a tractor-trailer that looks unusually futuristic and seeks to break the bounds of fossil fuel efficiency, said Megan Pino, global brand manager for Shell Rotella — the heavy-duty lubricant division of Shell.

Starship Truck Logs Big Efficiency Gains on Cross Country Run

An aerodynamic “Starship” tractor-trailer rig crushed industry averages when it hauled 39,900 pounds of cargo across the lower U.S. last month.

Using largely off-the shelf components, the giant truck achieved nearly 2.5 times the average for freight hauling efficiency.

Shell’s futuristic Starship concept truck pushes the bounds of freight efficiency in cross-country run

The Shell Starship, a highly aerodynamic Class 8 tractor-trailer designed to test the bounds of fuel efficiency and cut emissions, has been attracting a lot of attention during its cross-country trip this week.

CCJ caught up with the Starship caravan Wednesday as it left Hammond, Louisiana, on its way to Biloxi, Miss. The truck, which began its trip in San Diego on May 18, is scheduled to end its 2,361-mile journey Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tesla’s latest competition in making efficient truck to crisscross country: Big Oil

Drivers have complained for decades about trucks on the road. They go too slow. They take up too much space. They’re scary to pass. But the most unsettling aspect of trucks goes beyond what drivers can see: their environmental impact.

The Shell Starship’s streamlined trailer sports the sleekest upgrades from industry leaders

It’s easy to fixate on the front of Shell’s Starship.

From the active grill shutters on the nose of the truck’s futuristic, carbon-fiber body to the custom DOT-approved, wrap-around windshield and tech-filled cab, the tractor is an awesome sight to behold.



Recently, we attracted flak from some quarters of our readership for featuring pickup trucks.
While not green by the standards of modern electric vehicles and hybrids, their push towards greater efficiency is equally important–because the biggest gains come from the most popular and least-efficient vehicles.

At 13.4 mpg, the future of aero trucking?

Aerodynamics is getting more attention these days now that diesel has risen fairly steadily for about four months to top $4. You can read a lot more about it in the November Overdrive, where columnist Kevin Rutherford will examine the aero trailer benefits for owner-operators. Also in that issue, our fuel-saving tips list will devote a big section to aero features.

Eastbound and green: AirFlow BulletTruck aims to improve fuel economy for long haulers

In the late 1970s, the AirFlow Truck Co.’s Bob Sliwa graduated from violently shepherding a Chevrolet Chevelle down Connecticut drag strips to the world of owner-operator trucking. Frustrated with the 4.4 mpg of his cab-over Ford CLT-9000, Sliwa applied aero-dynamic principles to the diesel behemoth. Through trial and error, he managed to wring 9.33 mpg out of his 18-wheeler.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s a truck??

After four days at MATS (we get here a day early for press conferences) – our senior technical editor Paul Abelson says he normally feels like he’s seen it all. Paul Abelson interviews Bob Sliwa
“By Saturday,” says Paul, “we, the collective press corps, have sat through everything from product announcements to full-blown new truck introductions.”

Bob Sliwa’s AirFlow Truck Company Creates World’s Biggest Aerodynamic Hot Rod

Like other inquisitive young kids that grow up to reshape the world as we see it, Bob Sliwa also began his intimate relationship with science and physics, by disassembling his toys just to see what makes them whiz and whirl. But, when he sat down to design and then create a brand new Class 8 tractor trailer rig with advanced aerodynamics, extraordinary fuel savings, and a very low emissions profile, he ended up revolutionizing over the road trucks.


Newington, Connecticut