Semi-truck size and weight

Why is it called a “SEMI-TRUCK”? Their trailers—known as tractor-trailers—have no front wheels and can be used only when connected to the tractor part of the truck. (Their brakes are automatically applied when the trailer is standing unattached.) Only when a truck is connected, and pressure from the truck’s engine-powered air pump releases the brakes, can the trailer roll. Thus: “semi-trailer.” The terms “semi” and “semitruck” evolved from there.

Most semi trailers are 53 feet long, though some semi trucks pull multiple trailers at once. Some semi truck engines weigh as much as 3,000 lbs., and can tow tens of thousands of pounds. Federal regulations state that semi trucks and trailers cannot weigh more than 80,000 lbs.—anything heavier could potentially damage roads and bridges.

The maximum weight for a U.S. semitruck and full trailer is 80,000 pounds spread over 18 conventional wheels. Out in the wide-open spaces of Australia, however, “road trains” can have four trailers and weigh in excess of 300,000 pounds.

A Detroit Diesel DD15 14.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine weighs 2,880 pounds, or 345 pounds more than a Mini Cooper. This colossal power plant makes up to 560 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque, and at just 1,200 rpm the engine produces more than 1,500 lb-ft of torque. Most turbocharged diesel engines put out between 1,200 and 2,050 lb-ft to keep all that weight moving.

Going up a steep hill, a truck’s mileage might drop to about 2.9 mpg, while going down the same hill will raise it to more than 23 mpg. This year Shell’s Starship concept truck used advanced aerodynamics and hybrid motors to attain… 8.9 mpg. (That said, it was carrying a heavy load and achieved 178.4 ton-miles per gallon, more than double the national average in the measure that takes payload into account.)

How do you make a huge, heavy truck more fuel-efficient? Fairings that hide the leading edge of the trailer, side skirts that prevent wind turbulence under the trailer, and round caps over the rear trailer doors all combine to improve fuel mileage. “Super single” wide wheels that replace dual wheels are said to improve fuel mileage by up to 7 percent. Trucks are also beginning to incorporate more composite materials—the same kind of transformation that in aeronautics produced the current set of super-efficient airliners, like the Boeing Dreamliner.

https://nikolamotor.com/motor

https://www.truckinginfo.com/312230/why-electric-trucks-why-now



What type of problems are we solving with an electric semi-truck? Package delivery, and moving cargo accounts for possibly 16% of traffic however this is increasing. FEDEX, UPS, Amazon Prime are some examples. Trucks move 71% of the United States freight by weight. $797 billion in freight hauling revenue per year. There are an estimated 3.68 million class 8 semi trucks and 5-6 million trailers in existence today. There are a total of 36 million trucks registered and used for business purposes (excluding government and farm) in 2017, representing 24% of all trucks registered. According to https://www.trucking.org/News_and_Information_Reports_Industry_Data.aspx

The case for an all electric semi truck would be that cargo that is traditionally too large for a pickup truck, and packages too small for a semi-trailer. Truck drivers drive an estimated 140 billion miles every year, and a single semi drives about 45,000 miles a year on average. According to the Federal Highway Administration, long-distance trucks travel upwards of 100,000 miles a year. 42% of all miles driven by commercial vehicles are driven by semi trucks. Semi trucks provide essential transportation services for the U.S. economy. Though trains provide efficient transportation, semi trucks are better at taking smaller loads to specific places. 68% of all goods are transported via semi truck. That works out to an astonishing 60,000 lbs. per American per year. 90% of semi-truck drivers are male and 3.5 million have truck driving jobs. There are 3.2 million long-haul truck drivers in the U.S. They hold Class A driver’s licenses, which means they can pilot vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds. Overachievers can get additional endorsements to drive double- and triple-trailers, tankers, and hazardous materials.

Semi-truck size and weight

Why is it called a “SEMI-TRUCK”? Their trailers—known as tractor-trailers—have no front wheels and can be used only when connected to the tractor part of the truck. (Their brakes are automatically applied when the trailer is standing unattached.) Only when a truck is connected, and pressure from the truck’s engine-powered air pump releases the brakes, can the trailer roll. Thus: “semi-trailer.” The terms “semi” and “semitruck” evolved from there.

Most semi trailers are 53 feet long, though some semi trucks pull multiple trailers at once. Some semi truck engines weigh as much as 3,000 lbs., and can tow tens of thousands of pounds. Federal regulations state that semi trucks and trailers cannot weigh more than 80,000 lbs.—anything heavier could potentially damage roads and bridges.

The maximum weight for a U.S. semitruck and full trailer is 80,000 pounds spread over 18 conventional wheels. Out in the wide-open spaces of Australia, however, “road trains” can have four trailers and weigh in excess of 300,000 pounds.

A Detroit Diesel DD15 14.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine weighs 2,880 pounds, or 345 pounds more than a Mini Cooper. This colossal power plant makes up to 560 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque, and at just 1,200 rpm the engine produces more than 1,500 lb-ft of torque. Most turbocharged diesel engines put out between 1,200 and 2,050 lb-ft to keep all that weight moving.

Going up a steep hill, a truck’s mileage might drop to about 2.9 mpg, while going down the same hill will raise it to more than 23 mpg. This year Shell’s Starship concept truck used advanced aerodynamics and hybrid motors to attain… 8.9 mpg. (That said, it was carrying a heavy load and achieved 178.4 ton-miles per gallon, more than double the national average in the measure that takes payload into account.)

How do you make a huge, heavy truck more fuel-efficient? Fairings that hide the leading edge of the trailer, side skirts that prevent wind turbulence under the trailer, and round caps over the rear trailer doors all combine to improve fuel mileage. “Super single” wide wheels that replace dual wheels are said to improve fuel mileage by up to 7 percent. Trucks are also beginning to incorporate more composite materials—the same kind of transformation that in aeronautics produced the current set of super-efficient airliners, like the Boeing Dreamliner.

https://nikolamotor.com/motor

https://www.truckinginfo.com/312230/why-electric-trucks-why-now



Utility Task Vehicles (UTV) and Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicles (MOHUVs)

The side-by-side (often written as SxS) is a small 2- to 6-person four wheel drive vehicle, also called UTV (utility vehicle or utility task vehicle), a ROV (recreational off-highway vehicle), or a MOHUV (multipurpose off-highway utility vehicle).

The majority of the side-by-sides come factory-equipped with a ROPS, or roll-over protection system. Many of the vehicles also come equipped with hard tops, windshields, and even cab enclosures.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) defines multipurpose off-highway utility vehicles (MOHUVs) as vehicles with: “(a) four or more wheels, (b) a steering wheel, (c) non-straddle seating, and (d) maximum speeds between 25 mph and 50 mph. In addition, MOHUVs have foot controls for throttle and braking, occupant restraints, and rollover protective structures.” MOHUVs with maximum speeds in excess of 30 mph meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission definition of an ROV. Recreational off-highway vehicles are subject to additional safety standards including “visual seat belt usage reminders; leg/foot barriers; shoulder/hip barriers; and arm/hand barriers to restrict occupant egress and excursion from the vehicle during a rollover event”. These are voluntary standards under American National Standard for recreational off-highway vehicles, ANSI/ROHVA 1-2010, though the CPSC has proposed making them mandatory.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV)

Weight: 3,000 lbs. and lighter..? Small utility and recreation vehicles.

Examples: Polaris, can-am, Yamaha

These are the smallest and lightest vehicles. One step up from a golf cart. They’re not much use for towing or hauling, but if you’re a homeowner or do-it-yourselfer, farmer, weekend warrior, this might be the ticket.

Polaris and Can-Am UTV’s in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Current Truck Class Definition

Show a truck to the average person off the street, and all they see is a truck. When a driver or fleet manager sees one however, their brains start computing, cataloging the vehicle into the proper class. How much does it weigh? What’s the payload designation? Is it a heavy-duty truck requiring a special license to drive it? All those elements factor into the truck classification, signifying what the vehicle is built to do.

In a nutshell, truck classification looks at the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the GVWR. It’s how manufacturers label trucks based on government guidelines. The GVWR indicates the maximum truck weight plus what it’s able to carry fully loaded. That includes the truck’s own weight plus the fuel, cargo, passengers, and even the trailer tongue, according to the diesel website the TruckStop. Trailer classification regulates safety, but it’s also useful for commercial designation and when registering vehicles.

Truck + Cargo + Fuel + Passengers + Tongue = GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

Class 1 – 6,000 lbs & Less
MinivanCargo VanSUVPickup Truck
Class 2 – 6,001 to 10,000 lbs
MinivanCargo VanFull-Size PickupStep Van
Class 3 – 10,001 to 14,000 lbs
Walk-inBox TruckCity DeliveryHeavy-Duty Pickup
Class 4 – 14,001 to 16,000 lbs
Large Walk-inBox TruckCity Delivery 
Class 5 – 16,001 to 19,500 lbs
Bucket TruckLarge Walk-inCity Delivery 
Class 6 – 19,501 to 16,000 lbs
Beverage TruckSingle-AxleSchool BusRack Truck
Class 7 – 26,001 to 33,000 lbs
RefuseFurnitureCity Transit BusTruck Tractor
Class 8 – 33,001 lbs & Over
Cement TruckTruck TractorDump TruckSleeper
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Center for Transportation Analysis, Oak Ridge, TN.

Class 1

Weight: 6,000 lbs. and lighter

Examples: Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma

These are the smallest and lightest trucks.


Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
Ford RangerNissan FrontierToyota TacomaHonda Ridgeline FWD

Class 2

Weight: 6,001 – 10,000 lbs.

Examples: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Dodge Ram 1500, Dodge Ram 2500, Ford F-150, Ford F-250, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan

Full-size or half-ton pickups are usually under Class 2. Class 2 trucks can haul between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds on their beds. Sometimes, this class is split into two more categories — Class 2a and 2b. Class 2a trucks have a GVWR of 6,001 to 8,500 pounds, while Class 2b trucks have a GVWR of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds.  

Class 3

Weight: 10,001 – 14,000 lbs.

Examples: Chevrolet Silverado 3500, Dodge Ram 3500, Ford E-350, Ford F-350, GMC Sierra 3500

If you have a heavy-duty pickup truck, chances are it’s a Class 3 truck. Class 3 trucks are often used for “work truck” jobs, “contractor truck” jobs, and the like. You can also put certain types of  walk-ins, city delivery trucks, and box trucks under this category.   

Class 4

Weight: 14,001 – 16,000 lbs.

Examples: Dodge Ram 4500, Ford E-450, Ford F-450, GMC 4500

Of the medium duty trucks, Class 4 trucks are the lightest. You can spec them as you wish by adding “chassis cabs” to convert them into makeshift ambulances, box trucks, or wreckers. Bucket trucks, certain types of city delivery trucks, and large walk-ins belong to this category.  

Class 5

Weight: 16,001 – 19,500 lbs.

Examples: Dodge Ram 5500, Ford F-550, Freightliner M2 GMC 5500, International TerraStar

The job capabilities of Class 4 and Class 5 trucks tend to overlap a bit. Aside from Class 4 jobs, Class 5 trucks can also do construction and “fleet vehicle” work. This category includes all remaining bucket trucks, large walk-ins, and city delivery trucks.

Class 6

Weight: 19,501 – 26,000 lbs.

Examples: Chevrolet Kodiak (GMC TopKick) C6500, Ford F-650, Freightliner M2 106, International Durastar 4300

Beverage trucks, rack trucks, single-axle trucks, and school buses are some of the vehicles that fall under Class 6. They look and feel like Class 5 vehicles, except they can tow and haul heavier loads. In fact, you can spec Class 6 trucks to work almost as well as Class 7 and 8 vehicles.

Heavy Duty

Class 7

Weight: 26,001 – 33,000 lbs.

Examples: Ford F-750, GMC C7500, International WorkStar, Mack Granite

If you want to drive a Class 7 truck, you need a Class-B commercial driver’s license (CDL) as Class 7 drivers mostly work in heavy duty industries like construction, garbage collection, and livestock transportation. Vehicles under this category include tractors and city transit buses.

To get a CDL, visit your state’s DMV, ask for a Class-B CDL application form, and get ready for a written and a practical test. You will also be required to take a physical test (to make sure your eyes and ears are in good shape) every two years and be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial truck on interstate highways. 

Class 8

Weight: 33,001 lbs. and heavier

Examples: Tractor Trailer, 18-Wheelers

Of the trucks on this list, Class 8 trucks are one of the most common. Sleeper cabs, dump trucks, truck tractors, and cement trucks are examples of Class 8 vehicles.

Since Class 8 trucks are the biggest and heaviest of their kind, they require drivers to get a Class-A or Class-B CDL. Class-A CDLs are for combination vehicles like tractor-trailers, while Class-B CDLs are for non-combination vehicles.

There’s a lot of consideration that goes into buying a truck — there’s no doubt about that! By knowing what kind of jobs you intend to do and what kind of hauling, speed, and other capabilities you’ll need, you’ll be better able to choose the model and classification that’s right for you.

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