Gates Micro-V Belt operating the front engine accessory drive on a CabRunner installation.

Gates Micro-V Belt operating the front engine accessory drive on a CabRunner installation.


Eighteen-wheelers and passenger vehicles may be a bit more fuel efficient, thanks to three recent developments from Gates Corp., Denver. Gates' CabRunner Integrated Power System eliminates the need for semi-truck drivers to idle their engines while sleeping just to power accessories such as air conditioning, heat, and lights. Every year, idling burns more than 960 million gallons of diesel fuel. Gates claims the new system can reduce fuel consumption at idle by 60%.

Another advance, E3 Drive Technology, targets passenger vehicles. The two-speed drive lets the air-conditioning compressor and alternator run at idling speed, while the engine runs at drive speed. Drivers won't notice a difference in vehicle operation but fuel consumption will improve 5% or more, according to the company.

Finally, gasstingy hybrid vehicles become even more penurious with special stop/start technology called Electro-Mechanical Drive (EMD). EMD is said to lower fuel consumption in hybrids by 6 to 10%, depending on the application, and more than 20% in urban traffic. The '07 Saturn Vue and '07 Chevrolet Malibu feature EMD.

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