Truck makers unite with DoE to improve fuel efficiency

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: energy management

America could save nearly one billion gallons of fuel annually by adopting new aerodynamic technologies on tractor-trailer trucks, according to a two-year collaborative study conducted by members of the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

 

Four TMA members – International Truck and Engine Corporation, Freightliner LLC, Mack Trucks Inc. and Volvo Trucks North America – comprising 75 percent of the U.S. market for Class 8 trucks, teamed with the U.S. Department of Energy to study a variety of design improvements that would reduce aerodynamic drag and significantly improve fuel efficiency.

 

"We are pleased to see the fuel-savings fruits of this collaborative effort between government and industry," said Robert Clarke, president of the Truck Manufacturers Association. "We hope and expect that the results of this joint effort will lead to the implementation of more aerodynamic technologies on tractor-trailer trucks, which directly contributes to our nation's goal of energy independence and cleaner air."

 

Technologies that improve truck aerodynamics in several key areas were displayed today outside the U.S. DOE headquarters, including:

  • Gap enclosure – reduces aerodynamic drag in the gap between the tractor and trailer
  • Side skirts – improves aerodynamics and reduces airflow under the trailer in crosswinds
  • Boat tails – tapers back of trailer to minimalize "wake" airflow
  • Side mirror design – reconfigures shape and support systems to reduce aerodynamic drag

The two-year study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Office through the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Clarke applauded the government-industry joint effort, saying, "The truck manufacturing community greatly values the government's support of efforts like this one and looks forward to expanding the scope of cooperative research in the future."

 

The combined effect of all aerodynamic improvements on one vehicle could result in as great as 23 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag. For every 2 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag, there is a 1 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

 

"To put this in perspective, if every tractor/van semi-trailer combination truck in operation in the U.S. adopted these technologies and improved fuel efficiency by 10 percent, it would translate into nearly one billion gallons per year of fuel savings. These small improvements collectively could make a huge difference in reducing fuel use," said Clarke.

 

Truck Manufacturers Association is a not-for-profit technical trade association headquartered in Washington, D.C. Members are corporations with principal headquarters located in North America who engage in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing and sale of Class 6, 7, and 8 medium and heavy-duty trucks.


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