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Renault » Optifuel Lab 3

Renault Trucks continues research on improving the efficiency of diesel trucks. The company has presented the Renault Optifuel Lab 3 that was developed as a part of the FALCON project. Optifuel Lab 3 combines technologies aimed at optimizing aerodynamics, reducing rolling resistance and using various driver assistance systems.

The main goal of Optifuel Lab 3 is to demonstrate a 13% reduction in fuel consumption compared to a standard Renault Trucks T with a semi-trailer. It uses technologies from a variety of manufacturers: Renault Trucks, Faurecia, Michelin, Total, FRUEHAUF, Wezzoo, Benomad, Styl'Monde, Polyrim, Enogia, IFP Énergies nouvelles and IFSTTAR. Renault Optifuel Lab 3 is part of the FALCON project, which is funded by the government.

One of the solutions that positively affected aerodynamics is the use of a semi-trailer with variable geometry. Designed by FRUEHAUF in collaboration with Styl'Monde, this “adaptive” trailer is intended to automatically take on an optimized shape by using empty loading space thanks to a built-in control and command system and sensors.

The aerodynamics of the tractor is also improved by replacing the rear-view mirrors with cameras and applying new A-pillars based on a PhD thesis from the Fluid and Acoustic Mechanics Laboratory at the École Centrale de Lyon. Airflow is also optimized by extending the front end and streamlining wheel arches. The side fairings are larger and made of flexible Polyrim material. They work as side deflector extensions to remove the gap between the tractor and semi-trailer.

On long-haul trips, tyre rolling resistance is about 25% of fuel consumption. Michelin developed low rolling resistance tires specifically for Renault Optifuel Lab 3 using its latest developments.

Navigation and traffic data (Benomad), meteorological (Wezzoo) and data from tires (Michelin) will be used by optimized predictive speed and cooling system controllers. This latest system will be equipped with new actuators to maximise energy savings.

The IFSTTAR company has developed an interface that provides all the necessary information to the driver in the most convenient way and gives tips on fuel economy. The transmission used a new generation of low-viscosity lubricants developed by Total to reduce friction.

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