Rotella starship

The Next Innovation

The pursuit of significant fuel economy gains for class 8 trucks and trailers is a challenging process given the size and traditional construction of a tractor and trailer. However, with new fuel economy regulations on the horizon and the need for continuing advances in fuel economy, Shell Lubricants recognizes that a holistic approach to making fuel economy gains is important.

Shell Lubricants and AirFlow Truck Company joined forces to develop a hyper-fuel efficient Class 8 tractor trailer, Starship—and are sending it coast-to-coast to see just how energy efficient goods transport by road can be. Follow along with the journey #ShellStarship. 

More About Starship

About Starship

The Starship Initiative is designed to explore the future of what’s possible in truck design, fuel economy savings and CO2 reduction.

  • Aerodynamics:
    • Bespoke 100% hyper-aerodynamic carbon fiber Cab
    • Active Grill Shutters (active based on temperature to maximize aerodynamics and maximize efficiency)
    • Aerodynamic boat tail for streamlined air flow around truck and drag reduction
  • Efficiency:
    • Hybrid electric axle system for a power boost while climbing grades
    • Custom automatic tire inflation system for consistent tire pressure and optimal fuel economy
    • Downspeed axle configuration provides improved efficiency and pulling power
    • 5000 Watt solar array charges and stores power for normal electrical components
  • Shell Technologies for Starship:

Starship Truck Specifications  Starship Truck Technology

Air Flow Starship in the News

Air Flow Starship is making headlines. See what people are saying about the hyper fuel-efficient truck.

Date Location City 
March 5th-8th (Closed) Georgia World Congress Center Atlanta, GA
March 22nd-24th (Closed) Kentucky Expo Center Louisville, KY
April 19th-22nd (Closed) Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, CA
April 30th-May 3rd (Closed) Long Beach Convention Center Long Beach, CA
June 5th-6th Jacksonville Convention Center Jacksonville, FL 

Trucker Appreciation Events

Join Shell for trucker appreciation events at these truck stops during Starship’s coast-to-coast run.

Dates Location
Afternoon of May 18th Loves Travel Stop, 820 W. Pima St, Gila Bend, AZ
Afternoon of May 20th  Loves Travel Stop, 43 US Hwy 87, Comfort, TX
Afternoon of May 23rd Loves Travel Stop, 11332 Cedar Lake Rd, Biloxi, MS
Rotella starship robert silwa

The Team Behind the Truck

Robert Sliwa – Owner – Airflow Truck Company

After six years of regional trucking, Robert ‘Bob’ Sliwa opened his own over-the-road trucking company. After realizing how inefficient long-haul trucks were, (he could only average 4.4 mpg) Bob began modifying his cabover and tweaking one thing at a time until he reached 10 mpg.

He began work on a second super-aerodynamic and hyper fuel-efficient Class 8 rig, the BulletTruck, in 2009. He introduced it to the public and began weekly “real-world” freight hauling runs with it in 2012.

And for the last few years, Bob has been designing and building Starship with a small crew in New Britain, Connecticut. 

Project M - Bob Mainwaring

Bob Mainwairing – Technology and Innovation Manager, Shell Lubricants

Bob is a mechanical engineer and leads Shell’s global automotive engine and lubricant research team for Starship.

Bob leads many co-engineering projects for Shell including the Shell Concept Car, an urban vehicle that uses less energy than other cars available today. The Shell Concept Car sought to explore the role that lightweighting, streamlining and lubrication played in personal transport, much like the Starship Initiative which explores the equivalent for freight transport.

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