Lammert, M., Duran, A., Diez, J., Burton, K. et al., "Effect of Platooning on Fuel Consumption of Class 8 Vehicles Over a Range of Speeds, Following Distances, and Mass," SAE Int. J. Commer. Veh. 7(2):626-639, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2438.
This research project evaluates fuel consumption results of two Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations platooned together compared to their standalone fuel consumption. A series of ten modified SAE Type II J1321 fuel consumption track tests were performed to document fuel consumption of two platooned vehicles and a control vehicle at varying steady-state speeds, following distances, and gross vehicle weights (GVWs). The steady-state speeds ranged from 55 mph to 70 mph, the following distances ranged from a 20-ft following distance to a 75-ft following distance, and the GVWs were 65K lbs and 80K lbs. All tractors involved had U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay-compliant aerodynamics packages installed, and the trailers were equipped with side skirts. Effects of vehicle speed, following distance, and GVW on fuel consumption were observed and analyzed. The platooning demonstration system used in this study consisted of radar systems, Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, vehicle braking and torque control interface, cameras and driver displays. The lead tractor consistently demonstrated an improvement in average fuel consumption reduction as following distance decreased, with results showing 2.7% to 5.3% fuel savings at a GVW of 65k. The trailing vehicle achieved fuel consumption savings ranging from 2.8% to 9.7%; tests during which the engine cooling fan did not operate achieved savings of 8.4% to 9.7%. “Team” fuel savings, considering the platooned vehicles as one, ranged from 3.7% to 6.4%, with the best combined result being for 55 mph, 30-ft following distance, and 65k GVW.