July 10, 2019 1:00 PM, EDT

EPA: Day Cabs Can Qualify for SmartWay Designation

Truck on highwayJohn Sommers II for Transport Topics

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Day cabs — especially those with a high roof and pulling a box trailer — can qualify for SmartWay designation that signifies the equipment significantly lowers fuel use and reduces air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a webinar July 9.

“Our SmartWay partner fleets asked us to recognize their day cabs that went the extra mile to use SmartWay aerodynamics and tire packages. We also reviewed research indicating these technologies would provide fuel savings in day-cab configurations,” said Sam Waltzer, SmartWay technology team leader within EPA’s Technology Assessment Center.

“It is our expectation that designated day cabs will be used in regional-haul operations, which travel longer daily distances but return to home each night. We don’t expect to see great penetration of designated day cabs into specialty applications, such as port drayage or urban beverage delivery,” he said.

SmartWay logo

Waltzer added that the day cab expansion was developed in a way that encouraged idle-reduction options, but an idle-reduction system is not required.

“So a manufacturer doesn’t necessarily have to demonstrate to EPA it has verified equipment for these applications,” he said. “The presumption is that many of these devices could spill over into day cab applications,” such as a fuel-operated heater or a battery-operated air conditioning unit.

A list of verified tractors, trailers and aerodynamic devices as well as tires from various manufacturers can be found on the SmartWay website.

According to EPA, fleets using SmartWay-verified equipment show they want to be recognized environmental leaders, attract new customers and demonstrate to customers, clients and investors that they are taking responsibility for the emissions associated with moving goods.

In all, 45% of the Class 8 tractors produced are day cabs, and a high percentage of those trucks is involved in a growing number of regional-haul operations, according to the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.

NACFE, a SmartWay affiliate, said 10 fleets are preparing for its Regional Run on Less event, a three-week freight efficiency roadshow starting Oct. 8 to showcase trucks operating in a variety of regional-haul applications in the United States.

Unlike the 10 mpg goal sought in the initial Run on Less event in 2017, NACFE is not forecasting a specific achievement in miles per gallon for the regional trucks.

In related news, the SmartWay program is testing transport refrigeration units, or TRUs, in climate chambers to assess potential fuel savings by plugging in reefer trailers. The goal is to demonstrate the return on investment for fleets, said Dennis Johnson, director of EPA’s Technology Assessment Center within its Transportation and Climate Division.

“As you probably know, [TRU manufacturers] Thermo King Corp. and Carrier Transicold are offering designs that can either be equipped new or retrofitted with plug-in capabilities so that when you are at the loading dock, you can plug in the TRU to run off house power,” Johnson said during the webinar.

“We are in the throes of a test program and hope to publish research within the next year, preferably sooner, of course,” he added. “But we are looking at the fuel-saving benefits as well as electrical consumption.”