White paper

Technology verification tool for green freight programs

This study presents the application of existing vehicle simulation tools to streamline technology verification and accelerate technology uptake in green freight programs. The Technology Verification Tool (TVT) can be used by fleet or green freight program managers to estimate the potential fuel savings of truck technologies without extensive real-world testing.

This study uses tools based on GEM and VECTO to estimate the potential fuel-saving benefits of aerodynamic devices and low rolling-resistance tires of typical Latin American tractor-trailers, as well as the effects of different duty cycles. The analysis compares the results for a generic tractor-trailer with those for 100 vehicle variants meant to represent a diverse range of fleets. The simplified tools allow carriers interested in quantifying the effects of such technologies to estimate fuel-consumption reductions using a vehicle model that is similar but not identical to their actual vehicles.

Simulation results indicate a relatively narrow range in efficiency improvements with variation of truck parameters. In other words, different trucks within the same truck category should experience similar efficiency improvements when using the same technology. However, the variation in efficiency improvements is much wider when changing duty cycles, in particular for aerodynamic devices whose effectiveness varies significantly with vehicle speed. This supports the use of a TVT to greatly expand the range of driving conditions that can be cost-effectively evaluated and obtain a more representative range of efficiency improvements for a given carrier’s operations.

There are multiple benefits from using a TVT under a green freight program. First, carriers could justify technology investments without extensive real-world testing. Second, technology suppliers could test products once and use simulation to estimate the technology benefits over a wider range of truck profiles and driving cycles. Third, the tool could benefit green freight programs by building credibility for technologies and awareness with carriers. Finally, adoption of similar tools worldwide could make technology verification synergetic across regions, reducing costs.