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03/11/2011
ECOSTRALIS: POWER AND FUEL SAVING

TRUCK WORLD

With the price of diesel and running costs continually increasing, the main aim is to consume less. Iveco has adopted various measures that will reduce consumption by 7.32%. A determining role is played by tyres

Fabio Quinto

We've all noticed that there's a lot going on in the companies that make heavy vehicles. There's a Euro6 to be developed and Scania and Mercedes-Benz - and, in part, Iveco, with the announcement of the absence of EGR in new engines - have already begun to show their hand. In the meantime, there's also today's market to be kept an eye on: with the price of diesel at these levels and running costs continually rising, the main goal is to make vehicles that consume less. Renault Trucks realized this when it launched the Renault Premium Optifuel already two years ago. Man and Iveco realized this when they launched the Tgx Efficient and the EcoStralis, respectively. The Italian company in particular adopted a series of really interesting measures that will reduce fuel consumption by 7.32% compared to a "normal" Iveco. Which was certified by Germany's Tüv. In order to this, a determining role was played by tyres. But let's take a closer look at this EcoStralis.

 

Characteristics
The first thing that strikes you is the very fine tricolour livery, perfect for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. The engines of this EcoStralis (in the 4x2 or 6x2 tractor versions) are the 420 and 460 HP Cursor 8, and the 500 HP Cursor 13. The second one is completely new or, rather, it's still a Cursor 8 but its power has been increased from 450 to 460 HP thanks to the redefinition of power unit parameters. Three different powers, all meeting EEV requirements that are stricter than the Euro5, which can be combined with the choice of an Active Space cab or the narrower Active Time cab (but only with the high roof and not with the 500 HP).
The most important modification is the EcoSwitch that gives two driving modes: Eco and Power. With the first, the limiter drops from 90 to 85 km/h. Not only: the EuroTronic automatic gear change (standard on all the EcoStralis) has new transmission logic. By pressing the accelerator all the way down (kick down) the gear changes between 1000 and 1500 revs, without leaving the "green zone", to keep consumption low. Let's be clear, we're talking about a vehicle that Iveco conceived primarily for long-haul fleets. Certainly not for the enthusiasts who want maximum power from their trucks, even if the 500 HP version winks an eye at owners who intend to reconcile consumption and performance.

 

The role of the tyres
Another modification concerns aerodynamics, with side deflectors that are deeper and closer to the semi-trailer to reduce air resistance. As we said, the tyres also play a decisive role: in fact EcoStralis is equipped with Michelin X Energy Savergreen tyres which, according to the company, "save 1.7 litres/100 km of fuel". These tyres are based on the Energy Flex heat-reducing casing that enables the tyre (sidewalls and bead included) to contribute to reducing the vehicle's consumption. We are on a 5-axle semi-trailer truck: the front axle has 315/70R 22.5 (or/80) X Energy Savergreen XZ or XF tyres with a load capacity of eight tons instead of the normal seven. This performance is due to the InfiniCoil construction, a long and continuous steel cable wrapped longitudinally around the entire crown. This new technology makes the crown more rigid and therefore has the potential to increase the life of the casing. Moreover, by stabilizing the crown of the tyre, the contact area is even and casing growth is eliminated, which means more grip and therefore greater safety.
For the drive axle there are X Energy Savergreen XD with Double-Wave" sipes for increased durability and improved traction of up to 10%. The three-dimensional sipes add rigidity to the rubber blocks which limits wear and rolling resistance. By working horizontally and vertically at the same time, they give good grip and longer life compared to traditional construction.
Now comes the trailer. This has Michelin X Energy Savergreen XT, also with the Energy Flex casing plus reinforced sidewalls to withstand damage from curbs and torsion on roundabouts.

 

The different packages
The two optional packs are Comfort and Safety. The former includes air suspended passenger seat, air conditioning, removable fridge with freezer compartment, and central locking; only the Active Space cab has a leather steering wheel and automatically-controlled air conditioning. In addition to ESP and Hill Holder fitted as standard, the Safety pack includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which "hooks" the speed of our vehicle onto that of the one in front, tyre pressure sensor (TPMS), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), and load measure.
As well as the new additions to the vehicle, the EcoStralis pack includes numerous services that also make the driver environment-friendly: in addition to the EcoSwitch, for the first time the Stralis includes a fleet management system. Called Blue&Me Fleet, it was developed together with Qualcomm: the standard version includes Assistance Non-Stop (ANS), a wireless hands-free kit and remote Tachograph data download. The Advanced version is a complete fleet management package with vehicle tracking, driver hours management, driver travel, and integration with the company's traffic office. Lastly, Blue&Me Fleet Professional also allows interaction with the driver by sending and receiving messages, travel map, truck navigation, workflow summarized on the driver's display, and trailer information.
For drivers, there is Iveco Driver Training, courses given by qualified teachers that aim to improve driver skills, reduce fuel consumption and increase safety. With good driving techniques, fuel savings can be up to 12%.

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