The TrailerTail may be coming to Europe. ATDynamics and TNT Express, combined with European aerodynamics company Ephicas, have completed a five-month test on ATDynamics’ TrailerTail aerodynamic device, achieving 6% in fuel savings, ATDynamics said.
The test, conducted in the Netherlands which currently does not have a length exemption for aerodynamic devices, showed a fuel savings of 1.65 liters of fuel per 100 km, or approximately 7 gals. per 1,000 mi. Vehicle speed was 50 mph.
“Savings on the fuel cost is an interesting business case, but also helps us to reach our goal of decreasing the CO2 emissions of our operations,” said Irma Blanke, director of operations & services for TNT Express Benelux.
The product, called EcoTail in Europe, extends out 4 ft. from the rear of the trailer and opens and closes automatically when the driver accesses the rear doors. It works by minimizing aerodynamic drag at highway speed.
“Reducing carbon emissions and the transportation industry’s dependence on oil depends on rapid innovation and technology adoption worldwide,” said Andrew Smith, CEO and founder of ATDynamics. “The comprehensive fuel economy and safety testing pursued by TNT Express in Europe will further accelerate adoption of our technology.”
Ephicas, along with partner PART (Platform for Aerodynamic Road Transport), is working with policy makers in Brussels to adjust regulations on maximum vehicle length for the use of the devices. Further testing will be conducted, ATDynamics said.
“Accurate, real-world fuel efficiency testing is time consuming and expensive for the typical trucking fleet, and requires significant data monitoring,” said Jeff Grossmann, vice president of engineering for ATDynamics. “The testing conducted by TNT and Ephicas provides real-world data which will allow fleets to feel confident in the rapid adoption of next generation semi-trailers.”Approximately 5,000 TrailerTails have been deployed on US highways and ATDynamics is working with leading US trucking fleets on a campaign to deliver 50,000 tails by 2014. Each TrailerTail saves approximately as much fuel as removing one passenger vehicle from the road, the company said.