NASHVILLE, TN — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expanding its voluntary SmartWay program to include refrigerated trailers and is accepting more testing methods from suppliers who want to get their fuel-saving technologies verified by the agency.
During a session at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council annual meeting this week, Sam Waltzer, an environmental engineer with the EPA, said the agency has watched what’s going on with the industry and U.S. fuel-economy regulations and decided to make some changes.
Starting immediately, SmartWay is rolling out the Interim Smartway-designated trailer standards, which expand the scope beyond the 53-foot dry van trailer, adding 53-foot refrigerated trailers, synchronizing with California’s rules, and adding another higher tier designation: a SmartWay Elite level.
Another new element is moving to a slightly different way of categorizing devices. Instead of listing SmartWay-verified side skirts, front fairings or rear fairings, for instance, devices will be categorized by the percentage fuel savings achieved in testing.
The traditional SmartWay trailer uses low-rolling-resistance tires and offers a 5-percent or better improvement in aerodynamics, Waltzer explained. The Elite level will use low rolling resistance tires, but would require a total of 9 percent or more aero improvement.
There now will be four choices for original and supplemental tests:
A new track test (still based on SAE testing protocols)
Wind tunnel results
Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD
In addition, the agency is moving from a list approach to a matrix, which would at a glance allow users to see which tests a particular product has passed.
“Right now we have a single list of verified devices,” Waltzer said. “We wanted to provide additional information. We’re providing the opportunity for manufacturers to provide additional testing.”
Beyond that, the agency is considering adding twin pup trailers.
“There’s quite a bit of information on the performance of aerodynamic devices on twin pups,” he said. “Another goal of ours is focusing on helping fleets understand how controlled verification testing translates to what they will see on the road.”