A For Effort: ADAS and aerodynamics lead 2020 equipment trends
External forces bludgeoned industry expectations for 2020, though spec’ing the latest in advanced driver-assistance systems and aero kits has blunted the impact on fleets.
AUG 10, 2020
The smoother profiles of newer trucks and spaceship-like contours on next-gen trucks such as the Tesla Semi or concepts such as the Shell Starship and Hyundai HDC-6 Neptune already indicate how original equipment manufacturer (OEM) engineers are trying to overcome air resistance and improve efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy said that at highway speeds, an estimated 53% of a Class 8 truck’s engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. An oft-overlooked area is the gap between the tractor and trailer.
XStream Trucking, founded in 2016, created a dynamic solution to close this gap with TruckWings.These glass-reinforced panels expand on the highway above 50 mph and fold in when under that threshold to allow the truck to turn. Deployed on several hundred UPS compressed natural gas trucks, the solution provides an average fuel savings of 4 to 6%. At a cost of $4,000, the return on investment can come in 12 to 15 months.
TruckWings look to be a more familiar sight on trucks across the country.
“We already sold twice as many in 2020 as we did all in 2019—and that’s with COVID,” said XStream Trucking CEO Daniel Burrows, who added the aerodynamic equipment is used on 2 million miles a week and by several of top 10 fleets.
“In our 2019 fleet survey, 8.2% of the responding fleets were adopting tractor gap reducers versus 0.6% last year, making this the fastest growing area for fuel economy in our report,” said Mike Roeth, executive director of the North American Council on Freight Efficiency (NACFE).