Trailer Aerodynamic Devices Actually Work
North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) recently issued a Confidence Report concluding that the trailer aerodynamic devices truly work in saving fuel ranges from 1-10%. Three very key areas of the trailer fuel consumption including the underbody, trailer gap, and rear of the trailer were studied in the research to take a look at the opportunities aerodynamic devices can provide. The results found were very promising.
Talking about the importance of fleet aerodynamic devices in a press conference at the TMC’s spring meetings, NAFCE’s Mike Roeth shared that aerodynamic devices for trailers present many opportunities that must not be missed out on if the trucking industry wants to prosper. In such tight economical times, every opportunity at hand must be fully utilized to keep the industry moving forward.
“It’s not a case of whether fleets should be aerodynamic devices, it’s more about when is the right time and which ones they’ll add,” is what he had to say.
Other than improving the fuel efficiency, trailer aerodynamic devices are becoming more and more efficient in terms of their durability and reliability, as the studies reported; however, more efforts must be employed to make the devices work at their true potential.
NAFCE also reported that the aero devices will enhance the stability, lower the risk of rollovers, reduce driver’s fatigue and even reduce pray and splash. This will make the trucks come more handle-able for the driver and ultimately result in lo repair and maintenance costs.
But there are a number of challenges faced by these aerodynamic devices which include discrepancies in product performances, extra weight, complex testing requisitions, tractor to trailer ratios, and the issues of its durability and reliability.
Roeth also stated that the trailer tails and side skirts will offer an efficient combination. “Almost always, the rear device incrementally adds to the fuel savings from the skirts,” were his actual words on the matter.
The report also drew attention to the fact that the trailer aerodynamics devices are showing promising results and will continue to do so. Once government regulations scale such technologies, these devices will see a reduction in their purchase prices.
Rick Mihelic, a program manager at NAFCE, quoting the report findings said, “Every trailer will benefit from improvements in aerodynamics, but there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.” In his concluding remarks, he added, “This report reduces the confusion and explains the combinations that make sense for fleets.”
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