Impact to Cooling Airflow from Truck Platooning

Chen Zhang, Michael Lammert

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


We investigate tradeoffs between the airflow strategies related to engine cooling and the aerodynamic-enabled fuel savings created by platooning. By analyzing air temperatures, engine temperatures and cooling air flow at different platoon distances, we show the thermal impact to the engine from truck platooning. Previously, we collected wind and thermal data for numerous heavy-duty truck platoon configurations (gaps ranging from 4 to 87 meters) and reported the significant fuel savings enabled by these configurations. The fuel consumption for all trucks in the platoon were measured using the SAE J1321 gravimetric procedure as well as calibrated J1939 instantaneous fuel rate while travelling at 65 mph and loaded to a gross weight of 65,000 lb. Using thermocouples mounted 1 m ahead of each truck, anemometers at the grill and a grid of under-hood thermocouples as well as J1939 reported engine temperatures, we analyze the impact to critical operating temperatures from different platoon configurations. Results show significant changes in the engine and under-hood air temperatures that correlate with vehicle gap distance and platoon position.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2020
EventSAE 2020 World Congress Experience, WCX 2020 - Detroit, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 202023 Apr 2020


ConferenceSAE 2020 World Congress Experience, WCX 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5400-78217 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-75474

Other Report Number

  • SAE Technical Paper No. 2020-01-1298


  • adaptive cruise control (ACC)
  • connected and automated vehicle
  • cooling air flow
  • cooperative ACC (CACC)
  • Engine cooling,
  • heavy-duty truck fuel economy
  • heavy-duty truck partial automation
  • heavy-duty truck platooning


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