LOUISVILLE, Kentucky. Shell Lubricants is hoping it can leverage its Rotella brand of diesel truck oils to successfully bite into the consumer market with a Rotella gas truck full synthetic engine oil.
The Rotella Gas oil, first introduced late last year, is now in stores and Megan Pino, Rotella global brand manager, said it has been well-received, but its ultimate success is still too early to tell at this point. The idea behind launching a Rotella gas oil, rather than leveraging existing products under Shell’s Pennzoil brand, is to build upon the customer loyalty the Rotella brand has gained among commercial truck operators, many of whom, it is believed, also drive pickup trucks.
“From a Rotella brand perspective, we’ll all about hard work, and … and many of these drivers work hard, and then they play hard,” Pino told FreightWaves during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 28, 2019.
She noted that customers buy trucks for many uses, including work around the house, trips to Home Depot, and more. It is expected that farmers that rely on trucks to get their job done will be a big customer base for the oil, which is available 0W-20, 5W-20 and 5W-30. The oil can also be used in medium-duty gas trucks such as those offered by Isuzu as well as Ford, GM and Chevrolet models. In that case, fleets that may run heavier-duty diesel trucks and lighter-duty gas vehicles will now be able to source their oil from a single supplier.
Pino also updated the company’s new Rotella T6 full synthetic oil, also introduced late last year. It is the first engine oil from Shell in the 15W-40 category, which represents 80 percent of the market, that is a full synthetic.
“That one is selling really well,” Pino said.
Last year at the Technology & Maintenance Council’s Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology meeting in Atlanta, Shell unveiled the Starship, a futuristic design of a tractor-trailer. The road legal, Class 8 tractor-trailer unit was built through a collaboration between Shell and AirFlow Truck Company. Designed with super sleek aerodynamic panels made of carbon fiber, the truck features a full suite of advanced technologies as Shell and AirFlow worked to design a truck that would improve freight efficiency as measured by ton-miles.
The tractor features a Cummins X15 engine with 6X2 configuration and a 2.5 ratio. The 6-cylinder engine produces 400 horsepower and 1850-foot pounds of torque. The vehicle has both a downsped axle and engine to reduce fuel usage, the latest safety technologies and auto tire inflation system to name just a few characteristics.
Pino said Shell will be working to “upgrade” the Starship in Phase 2 with hopes that it will make another cross-country trip in 2020. While upgrades are still be discussed, it will likely include a hybrid-electric axle that was part of the original design plan but was not included due to time constraints. Other updates to the electronics to help systems work more in unison are likely as well, she said.
Finally, Shell is readying for its annual SuperRigsv competition. This year’s event will be held at Trail’s Travel Center in Albert Lea, Minnesota. More than $25,000 in cash and prices will be up for grabs as well as spots in Shell’s popular SuperRigs calendar.
“They welcomed us with open arms,” Dave Waterman, North American marketing manager for Rotella, said of Albert Lea. “It’s a beautiful location and it’s so close to I-35, it will be easy for truckers going east to west or west to east to get to.”
Waterman said they hope to more than 100 trucks at the event this year – most competitions draw between 70 and 110 custom trucks competing for the prestigious honor of being named a SuperRig.
“I think we will get every bit of 100 because there are a number of top-tier companies in that area with custom trucks,” he said.
Plans are still be finalized, but concerts and a truck parade are likely to be part of this year’s event.