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Wabash Trailer Aerodynamics Boost Mileage on Navistar’s SuperTruck

December 13, 2016 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: Fleet Management, Fuel, News, Technology
Wabash Trailer Aerodynamics Boost Mileage on Navistar’s SuperTruck

Wabash National Corp., a leading North America’s producer of semi-trailers and liquid transportation systems, has released details about its trailer that was part of Navistar’s SuperTruck combination vehicle.

Wabash National’s trailer includes numerous aerodynamic trailer devices, three of which were based on the company’s commercially available Ventix DRS skirt, AeroFin XL tail device and nose fairing. The aerodynamic improvements reduced the trailer’s drag coefficient by more than 30 percent, according to Navistar.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck program, a five-year research and development initiative, focused on improving freight efficiency (the amount of freight hauled per gallon of fuel used) by 50 percent compared to 2009 base model heavy-duty tractor-trailer vehicles.

“Each of the trailer components selected for the SuperTruck combination vehicle were designed as concepts of what the next generation of aerodynamic devices will look like from Wabash National,” said Brian Bauman, vice president and general manager of Wabash Composites.

“On the heels of the GHG2 rule being finalized, the industry will need to innovate in order to meet fuel efficiency standards in the future. The SuperTruck initiative allowed us to leverage our fleet-proven aerodynamic technologies and years of aerodynamic research and development to innovate with our customer in mind.”

In addition to the aerodynamic device additions, Wabash National reduced the weight of the trailer by more than 2,000 pounds, compared to its 2009 dry van. All components used to reduce the weight of the trailer — such as wide-base single tires and a variety of aluminum components — are commercially available.

Wabash National was part of Navistar’s SuperTruck team — one of four industry teams to participate in the SuperTruck program. Navistar unveiled its SuperTruck on Sept. 28, reporting a 104 percent improvement in freight efficiency. The average tractor-trailer gets six miles per gallon; Navistar and Wabash National’s SuperTruck combination vehicle gets more than 13 miles per gallon.

According to the DOE’s Office of Science, approximately 20 percent of the SuperTruck efficiency improvements come from advances in the truck’s internal combustion engines, with further efficiency gains attributed to improved aerodynamics, weight reduction, reduced rolling resistance with high-efficiency tires and specialty equipment that limits idle time.