Phil Romba

Business, Technology, Equipment

New Technologies Target Trailer Efficiency

International concept truck with eNow solar panels A trailer outfitted with eNow solar panels pulled by an International concept truck. (eNow)

Class 8 power units may get all the attention, but trailers are coming into their own in terms of aerodynamic innovations that enhance fuel efficiency.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
April 24, 2020
Technology, Equipment

Electric Trucks to Change How Equipment Is Spec’d

Electric truck on highway Tesla Inc.'s battery-powered Class 8 truck. Tesla unveiled the electric semi in November 2017 (Alexis Georgeson)

The brave new world of electric Class 8 trucks dawned in North America with the delivery of two battery-­electric Freightliner ­eCascadia tractors to customers this past August. Penske Truck Leasing and NFI are placing the vehicles into revenue service. With electric-powered trucks, however, comes a fundamental shift in how tomorrow’s freight-hauling equipment will be specified.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
October 25, 2019
Business, Technology, Equipment, Fuel

Electric Trucks Will Demand New Expertise

BYD electric tractor A BYD electric tractor by BYD North America

Some industry representatives suggest that electric-powered vehicles will not only reduce diesel pollutants, but also ­attract a new generation of recruits to the field of heavy truck maintenance.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
July 19, 2019
Technology, Equipment, Safety

Extreme Temps Affect Electric Truck Batteries

A BYD battery-electric truck A BYD battery-electric truck. Replacing diesel-powered trucks will bring challenges. (California HVIP)

All major truck builders and several startups are preparing to develop, test and market either battery-electric vehicles or fuel-cell/battery models in the very near term. Replacing diesel-powered Class 8 trucks, though, will present numerous challenges to an industry accustomed to proven and reliable diesel-­engine technology.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
April 26, 2019
Technology, Equipment, Safety

The Savings of Truck Safety Technology

The rising cost of maintenance for Class 8 trucks needs to be weighed against safety and operational benefits, according to a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
January 25, 2019
Business, Technology, Equipment, Fuel, Top 100

Here Comes the Sun

eNow solar charging A demonstration of eNow's solar charging. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

As truck makers prepare to test and introduce Class 8 battery-electric and hydrogen-electric trucks in the next 12 to 24 months, one must wonder why only a very small number of truck operators have adopted clean solar technology.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
November 9, 2018
Government, Business, Technology, Equipment

The Case for Natural Gas Engines

UPS natural gas tractor UPS is an early adopter of trucks powered by natural gas engines. (UPS Inc.)

I’ve speculated in the past that fleets would tire of natural gas engines, partic­ularly as legislators or regulators began taxing the alternative fuel on the same basis as diesel.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
September 21, 2018
Business, Technology, Equipment, Safety

Class 8 Commercial Rigs Should Do Away With Mirrors

MirrorEye camera monitor system MirrorEye camera monitor system (Stoneridge)

It’s time that Class 8 commercial trucks deployed high-tech cameras instead of the assortment of mirrors — rearview, down view and blind spot — found on today’s tractors.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
July 20, 2018
Business, Equipment

Electric Trucks Need Infrastracture

Development of electric-powered commercial trucks in the 21st century takes the industry full circle to the infancy of the automotive revolution that began in the late 1800s, when battery-powered cars pioneered modern society’s fascination with mobility. Early on, at least, battery-powered cars were preferred because they were easy to operate — no cranking the engine to start them.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
May 18, 2017
Equipment, Business

Trailer Makers’ Brave New World

In less than 12 months, motor carriers are scheduled to encounter their first experiences with trailers designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and increase fuel efficiency. The latest federal government mandate to clean the air imposes standards for the first time on semi-trailers, creating what many consider to be a brave new world for trailer makers and suppliers of aerodynamic devices.

Phil Romba | Contributing Writer
January 27, 2017

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