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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Environmental Protection Agency Adding Reefers, Test Methods to SmartWay Program

The Environmental Protection Agency is making changes in its voluntary SmartWay program, including adding refrigerated trailers, expanding the technical categogies and accepting more testing methods from technology suppliers vying for certification by the agency.

During a session at the ATA Technology and Maintenance Council, Sam Waltzer, an environmental engineer with the EPA, said the program was due for some changes with new federal fuel-economy regulations in the works.

According to Heavy Duty Trucking, starting immediately, SmartWay is rolling out what it’s calling Interim Smartway-designated trailer standards, which expands 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, called 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 agency also will add a new “systems” category for those systems of products designed to work together to improve fuel efficiency.

The traditional SmartWay trailer uses low-rolling-resistance tires and offers a 5% or better improvement in aerodynamics, Waltzer explained. The Elite level will use low rolling resistance tires but would require a total of 9% or more aero improvement.

Additionally, there now will be four choices for original and supplemental tests:

• A new track test (still based on SAE testing protocols)
• Coastdown tests
• Wind tunnel results
• Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD

Waltzer added that the agency is moving from a list approach to a matrix, which would allow users to see which tests a particular product has passed.

Beyond that, the agency is considering adding twin pup trailers to SmartWay.

Expect to see more from the EPA SmartWay program on these changes in the next few weeks, reports HDT.