Scania tests fuel-saving rear spoiler for trucks

Scania has begun practical tests of a rear-mounted air deflector, which it claimed could cut a lorry’s fuel consumption by 2 per cent.

The company is calling the device a boat-tail, and said that it could be mounted on a normal three-axle semitrailer for European long-haulage. It increases the length of the vehicle combination by 30cm, which is equivalent to the extra length permitted for a tail-lift or other loading equipment according to the European Union’s Directive 97/27 EC.

An earlier version of the technology was claimed to reduce fuel consumption by 7.5 per cent, but added 2m to the length of the vehicle. 

“The tests are limited to Sweden and Denmark while we await final word on how road and traffic authorities in the Netherlands and Germany view our interpretation and application of the EU directive,” said Anders Gustavsson, managing director of the Scania Transport Laboratory (Scania Transportlaboratorium AB).

Scania Transport Laboratory tests and evaluates vehicle characteristics and performance, and carries out a portion of the goods haulage to Scania’s European production and assembly units. Its fleet consists of 20 tractor units and about 70 semitrailers.

Gustavsson added: “For the Transport Laboratory trucks, which run 360,000km per year and consume an average of 26 litres of fuel per 100km, it represents a annual saving of almost 1,900 litres of diesel and 5t of CO2 emissions per truck. This kind of aerodynamic improvement is positive for industry profitability as well as the environment and is equivalent to the results of several years of engine and chassis development work.”

For a lorry running 200,000km a year, the annual savings could be as much as 1,200 litres of fuel and 3t of CO2 emissions, Scania noted.

“This is a solution that does not encroach on cargo space and can also be retrofitted on existing trailers,” Gustavsson said. “In light of this, I hope that European trailer manufacturers will find it of interest to begin developing an integrated boat-tail. It involves a very simple technical solution that could quickly help reduce transport costs and environmental impact.”

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