NOV 2018


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NOVEMBER 2018 36 CompositesWorld FEATURE / Long-Haul Trucks A futuristic gateway Compared to conventionally fueled tractor-trailers, the poten- tial for a leap in composites use may be greater with alternatively fueled vehicles – electric vehicles (EV) in particular. e opportu- nity to use a purpose-built design approach for EVs, their greater weight sensitivity, and the lower initial volumes of these vehicles, should help to cost-justify composite-specific design, tooling and manufacture. Oppermann mentions autonomous vehicles as another future opportunity. TPI's Altman cites the Proterra (Burlingame, CA, US) Catalyst E2 (see Learn More) composite bus as a model for the path forward into greater composites application. "e purpose-driven Catalyst design affords the best efficiency rating ever for a 40-foot transit bus, at up to 28 mpg equivalent," states Rick Huibregste, senior VP of vehicle engineering at Proterra. "Proterra buses are the only mass transit vehicles built from the ground up as electric vehicles. With a unique aerodynamic body made from a combination of advanced composite materials, we are able to reduce mass for maximum efficiency." e bus is capable of achieving a nominal range of up to 426 miles on a single charge, meeting the needs of Monocoque bodies in trucking's future? Truck manufacturers may soon leverage lessons learned in bus design, moving away from metal frames with composite "covers" to structural composite bodies. Source | Proterra and TPI Composites metallic tooling." Stamps for large metal truck components can cost millions of US dollars, while composite tools are much less costly. is low capital investment would help build the business case, especially for lower-volume truck models, he notes. Opper- mann concurs: "On a line haul truck, lightweighting alone is not going to sell composites," he says. e design must benefit from other factors, including a lower tooling investment, or the ability to incor- porate more complex features such as aerody- namic profiles. He notes, for example, that Navistar may incorporate more aerodynamic packages in long-haul sleeper cabs, a lower volume application for which the company could leverage lower tooling costs, and therefore lower manufacturing costs. On the other hand, such aero packages would be cost-prohibitive in high-volume applications that are less aerodynamically sensitive. Read about the SuperTruck I initative: SuperTruck Read more about composite bus bodies | hybrid_bus

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