Global friction losses on buses and trucks - numbers are mesmerizing

    Recently, several of the world's leading tribology experts have published a report entitled “ Global energy consumption due to friction in trucks and buses, ” which in a loose translation sounds like “Global energy loss due to friction in buses and trucks.” Highlights:
    • In 2012, during the operation of the global fleet of trucks and buses, 180,000 million liters of fuel is spent only on overcoming friction.
    • "New Tribology" could save 105,000 million euros and 75,000 million liters of fuel annually, and is expected to reduce emissions of CO 2 at 200 million tons.

    The report analyzed losses due to friction in engines, transmissions, tires, accessories and brakes. The authors studied four main categories of vehicles (hereinafter TS): single trucks, various combinations of tractors with trailers, city and tourist buses. Friction losses were analyzed based on previously published data. Friction coefficients were evaluated for the following cases:
    1. The average modern vehicle;
    2. TS built using the best commercial technologies currently available;
    3. TS, which uses the most advanced technologies known today;
    4. A vehicle that can be built using new technologies that will be created in the next 12 years.

    The last point, to some extent, is the result of fantasies, but based on the authority of the authors, it can be used as a likely assessment of the near future. (note mine).
    The scheme of the main energy losses is as follows:


    As we can see, 33% of the fuel is spent on overcoming friction in the engine, transmission and tires. At the same time, only 34% of the fuel goes to the actual movement of the car, the rest simply heats the atmosphere. Electrification of city buses is not only beneficial in terms of increasing efficiency, but also allows to reduce indirect losses due to friction - it is estimated that such losses in electric vehicles are about half as much compared to similar diesel ones.

    But even if you do not transfer all the buses to electric traction right now, reducing friction in the mechanisms will save huge amounts of fuel. The introduction of the already known and the development of new mechanisms to reduce friction, according to estimates, can reduce losses by 14% in the short term (from 4 to 8 years) and by 37% in the long term (from 8 to 12 years). At the moment, we are talking about the following areas:
    • Further improvement of lubricating oils (extensive way).
    • Development and implementation of coatings with a low coefficient of friction (diamond-like films, multilayer coatings, graphene, etc.).
    • Modification of friction surfaces (metal texturing, tire optimization to reduce rolling friction).

    The good news is that all these areas can be developed in parallel, combining their strengths and leveling out the shortcomings. So, from my point of view, the forecast of "37% for 12 years" looks very realistic.
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