PHILADELPHIA. Designed to eliminate drag from the front end of a trailer by generating lift like an airplane wing, the new LeadEdge Top Fairing introduced here by SmartTruck aims to “manipulate and manage” airflow created in the gap between cab and trailer or between doubles.
With a list price of $429, the LeadEdge alone generates 2% in fuel savings, according to the company’s coast down testing results, and hits the “sweet spot” in terms of payback, added Stephen Ingham, Jr., SmartTruck’s CEO: between eight and 10 months.
He noted that SmartTruck is in the middle of field tests with the LeadEdge in tandem “pup” trailer operations with select customers – testing expected to be completed in the fourth quarter this year – though the device is available for ordering now with retrofit, aftermarket and factory-installed options. Usually it takes less than an hour to install one of the LeadEdge devices, he noted.
Ingham (seen at right) also said that SmartTruck will be consolidating its trailer aerodynamic offerings into three newly-renamed packages. The former UT1 will now be called the "Classic Aero System,” with the UT6+ now known as the "Premier Aero System," while the firm’s TopKit offering renamed the "TopKit Aero System."
Ingham told Fleet Owner that SmartTruck has “more products in the pipeline” and plans keep testing its current offerings in different conditions in order to help account for what he called the many “variances” in trucking operations that affect aerodynamic performance and fuel economy.
“It’s not just one thing that affects fuel efficiency: it’s trailer aerodynamics, tractor specifications, how the vehicle is driven, even the type of diesel fuel being used,” Ingham explained. “One reason we’re continuing field tests of our LeadEdge top fairing through the fourth quarter is to measure the impact of winter-blend diesel [fuel]. There are a lot of variables; we want to figure them out.”