SHELL'S STARSHIP INITIATIVE SEMI TRUCK
Would it sound weird if we told you that Shell (yes, the petrochemical company) is building a starship? Probably. It would probably be less weird if we said that the Starship was actually a hyper-efficient bespoke semi truck that just did a coast-to-coast run from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida.
To build the Starship, Shell teamed up with the AirFlow truck company to ruthlessly apply all of the best aerodynamic tricks and materials science hacks to the design of the truck in search of something more important to big trucks than simple miles-per-gallon: ton-miles per gallon. A truck's ton-miles per gallon figure compares the vehicle's fuel efficiency with the amount of cargo being carried since that dramatically affects how hard a diesel engine has to work.
To help eke out every last drop of efficiency, the Starship's cab is a bespoke shape that is designed to pierce the wind, and it's built from carbon fiber, to help reduce overall weight. The Starship's diesel engine still needs a grille for cooling, but it doesn't need nearly as much airflow in low-load conditions such as maintaining a constant speed on level ground, so the grille has actively controlled shutters that open and closed based on need to maximize aerodynamic efficiency.
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Written on Thursday, June 7, 2018 by