The product saves fleet operations time and improves communication and accuracy when managing drivers.
AUSTIN, Texas — Going green is much easier today than it was a few years ago thanks to the different options now available. Operators have more choices when it comes to hybrid, clean- and alternative-fuel vehicles; they can join an environmental sustainability program such as Green Ride Global; the arrival of an all-electric luxury sedan, the Tesla Model-S is just around the corner; and for operators whose budgets or market demands make any of the aforementioned options impractical, there is Sabertec's exhaust-tip filter, The Blade, which is designed to capture harmful particulate matter that vehicles release into the air.
And it also happens to reduce carbon emissions and increase fuel economy.
The official lab report concluded that "the ability of The Blade to provide [2 % - 8% of improvement in fleet fuel economy] in an aftermarket, consumer-installable device is remarkable...In summary, The Blade seems to show a repeated positive affect on fuel economy of a range of vehicles using a standard laboratory-based test protocol. While this test did not determine the long-term durability of The Blade, its benefit over the short term seems to be validated.”
The Blade filter works by simply attaching it to a vehicle’s tailpipe(s), and replacing it every 10,000 to 20,000 miles depending on the age of the vehicle. The Blade was tested for fuel-economy and emissions-reduction by Automotive Testing and Development Services, Inc. (ATDS), a California-based independent testing laboratory which is accepted by the EPA and is licensed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). ATDS is the same lab used by top vehicle manufacturers to test fuel economy and emissions of new vehicles, including Honda, Toyota, GM, Ford, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Volvo.
Firsthand Operator Experience
Exclusive Sedan Service of Los Angeles has outfitted nearly 90% of its 37-vehicle fleet with The Blade filter, and so far is “loving the product,” COO Brandan Stein said. “It’s been a very useful tool so someone can keep the comfort and luxury of riding in an SUV or Town Car instead of a smaller Prius or Lexus [RX hybrid], because I can show them on paper [the test results proving] this product actually reduces CO2 emissions that get released in the air, which is ultimately better than a hybrid.”
Stein says that a TV show for whom he provides transportation usually booked six cars a day going to set, all hybrids, but when they found out that Exclusive had Blade filters installed on its Town Cars, the client asked for those instead.
Some skeptics have claimed that a retrofitted exhaust filter would cause backpressure that in turn could damage a vehicle’s internal mechanisms, but Stein said he hasn’t encountered any problems. The Blade filter has a pressure release (V-cut) that allows it to work without causing backpressure. “The only issue I’ve encountered is that [The Blade] has a 3-year lifespan,” Stein says.
Craig McCutcheon, president of Toronto-based Rosedale Livery — the first company to join Green Ride Global and the first in Canada to incorporate The Blade filter in its fleet — says that while he’s not sure about the improvement in fuel economy, he’s certain that it helps reduce emissions. He’s testing it out on three Town Cars.
“It’s very difficult to track the fuel savings, because it’s all about having a benchmark before putting on the product and then track it after putting it on, and I wouldn’t say that we had a very good benchmark at the beginning,” he says. “In terms of fuel savings, I’d say maybe 4-6%, but we don’t have great statistics on it yet. But I do believe it reduces the heavy particulates, and that’s important.”
Out of his 85-vehicle fleet, McCutcheon runs nine Ford Fusion Ls and so is not pushing The Blade as a sales piece just yet.
Lab Test Results
Testing The Blade began in May 2008 and was completed in September 2008.
Among the test vehicles were a 4-cylinder 2008 Hyundai Sonata, 6-cylinder 2008 Lincoln Town Car, 8-cylinder 1997 Lincoln Continental, and an 8-cylinder 2007 Ford E-250 van.
CO2 Emissions Test EPA FTP-75
Lincoln Town Car
The only vehicle to have performed worse with The Blade filter was the 1997 Lincoln Continental, whose odometer read 193,196 miles before testing. After a review of the data by Sabertec, “the inclusion of the Lincoln Continental in the test was questioned due to its age and odometer reading.”
See the entire lab test report here.
— Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor
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