Browse Publications Technical Papers 2021-01-0071

Experimental Fuel Consumption Results from a Heterogeneous Four-Truck Platoon 2021-01-0071

Platooning has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of heavy-duty vehicles. Prior platooning studies have chiefly focused on the fuel economy characteristics of two- and three-truck platoons, and most have investigated aerodynamically homogeneous platoons with trucks of the same trim. For real world application and accurate return on investment for potential adopters, non-uniform platoons and the impacts of grade and disturbances on a platoon’s fuel economy must also be characterized. This study investigates the fuel economy of a heterogeneous four-truck platoon on a closed test track. Tests were run for one hour at a speed of 45 mph. The trucks used for this study are two 2015 Peterbilt 579’s with a Cummins ISX15 and a Paccar MX-13, and two 2009 Freightliner M915A5’s, one armored and the other unarmored. Many analysis methodologies were leveraged to describe and compare the fuel data, including lap-wise and track-segment analysis. The methodology for dividing the data into laps is described in detail. The influence of other factors beyond the aerodynamics of platooning is discussed. CAN fuel rate analysis showed excellent agreement with previous experimental trends for two and three-truck platoons. In general, the indicated fuel economy benefits in this study were 5-11% for following vehicles and 0-4% for the lead vehicle in platoon relative to their baseline fuel consumption. On a cumulative basis, all platoons saved fuel, ranging from 6% to 8% versus the sum of the standalone trucks’ fuel consumption. The practical implications of the fuel economy results are discussed, as well as avenues for future research.


Subscribers can view annotate, and download all of SAE's content. Learn More »


Members save up to 16% off list price.
Login to see discount.
Special Offer: Download multiple Technical Papers each year? TechSelect is a cost-effective subscription option to select and download 12-100 full-text Technical Papers per year. Find more information here.