The futuristic and highly aerodynamic ‘StarShip’ concept truck in development by Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company could be completed as early as next spring, Shell marketing rep Kate Faucher last week.
Shell announced the venture in March 2015, saying it was backing concept truck builder Bob Sliwa and his Airflow Truck Company. Sliwa in 2009 performed a cross-country fuel economy test with his highly conceptual Bullet Truck, achieving 13.4 mpg in a Connecticut to California trip with a gross vehicle weight of 65,000 pounds
Lubricants is stepping outside of its traditional “fluid engineering” box in the trucking world to help sponsor the development of a new “hyper-fuel mileage” Class 8 tractor-trailer design being built by the AirFlow Truck Company and its principal owner and designer, Bob Sliwa.
Being a former racecar driver and enthusiast, it was only natural that when Bob Sliwa got involved with heavy-duty Class 8 trucks he would want a truck to be as sleek and aerodynamic as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.