By on December 5, 2009

MAN DolphinWe’ve looked back at a boxy old International, so how about we gaze into the future? Aerodynamics is overarching key to improved transport fuel efficiency, since hybrid and other advance propulsion technologies have limited impact on long-haul trucks. This proposal by European truck maker MAN slips though the air with a 0.29 Cd (coefficient of drag), instead of the more typical 0.57 Cd. That represents a dramatic potential improvement in economy, but at the expense of an irregular-shaped cargo trailer. That’s going to be a big impediment to the trailer and cargo-handling standardization predominant in the industry. But it shows the potential available. More details on this and some early efforts at truck streamlining after the jump:Here’s the link to the full story and more pictures.

Studie_stromlinien1

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14 Comments on “Radical Aerodynamic Semi Truck With 0.29 Cd Offers Dramatic Fuel Savings...”


  • avatar
    Andy D

    The cargo handlers are gonna complain unless there is enough over head so the tail  can  swing  up.  Pah-leeze go with some  tear drop  head lights  for real  pretty art deco  styling.   A huge boat tail, Kewel

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    The cabs will continue to get more aerodynamic.  The trailers, not so much.

    There would have to be a huge drop in fuel usage to offset any loss of cargo space in an OTR scenario. 

    If the rules are changed to allow some sort of detachable stinger on the end of a conventional trailer, or a multi-modal box,  then trailers may progress more quickly.
     

  • avatar
    pariah

    No way you could drive a forklift into that trailer.

  • avatar
    Dorian666

    No Kamm tail design?

  • avatar
    ott

    Motor Trend just had an interesting article in their December issue about aerodynamics. They reported that there was a study being done which proved that air, pressurized to just 0.25 psi and released at the rear of a snub-tailed vehicle through integrated vents would help dissipate any drag and increase fuel efficiency by about 10%. Could be a boon for the transportation market…

    • 0 avatar
      Toy Maker

      Building on MT’s finding, maybe one can retro fit a host of air nozzles on top and rear of the trailer to shoot compressed air at different psis to recreate the same ‘flowing shape’ we see in the picture above?
       

  • avatar
    DearS

    I’d like to see Optimus Prime swicht to that design. Not the most efficent for cargo though.

  • avatar

    That truck design is beautiful.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

      If the extra length would not be a problem how about a hinged or detachable tail cone on a standardized size container?

      On second thought, get that cargo on a train. They are  extremely aerodynamic and efficient, and reduce the number of semis that we have to deal with on the road, mixing disruptively with traffic and wearing out the roads faster.

  • avatar
    Adub

    Even if the reduction in drag could offset the reduction in carrying capacity, those things will never work because every warehouse in America is designed for a trailer with doors that swing open and flush with the side of the trailer. Just try finding a place to dock that at a Wal-Mart or Home Depot. It ain’t going to happen.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Probably not all of this would work, but I think a great deal could be well applied to a new generation of Semi Trucks.   The side skirts along the trailer make a lot of sense.  It would be interesting to see a similar fluid dynamics graphic of a conventional Kenworth with a sleeper. 

    Then again, knowing most truckers they’d just cover their new ‘aero’ truck with enough lights to make Caesar’s Palace envious, a bumper guard, chrome acorn lug nuts; a bug shield and at least three air horns on top of the cab along with some extra extra large side mirrors. 

  • avatar

    Ok. So next they’ll be re-designing 20ft and 40ft containers. Sounds like the right time for Piech to throw his weight around at MAN and to put the designers back to work where is really counts.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I would think that simply adding skirts to box in the wheels on the trailer would be an economical compromise.  Added bonus-the potential for ground effects.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Even if the reduction in drag could offset the reduction in carrying capacity, those things will never work because every warehouse in America is designed for a trailer with doors that swing open and flush with the side of the trailer. Just try finding a place to dock that at a Wal-Mart or Home Depot. It ain’t going to happen.
     
    If the trailer uses a semirigid fabric or segmented cone that could be pulled back or folded away, it could work.


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