Mercedes-Benz has been working on a new trailer it said reduces wind resistance by 18% and fuel consumption by 5%. The trailer, dubbed the “Aero trailer,” was formally displayed at the recent Trailer 2011 show in Kortrijk, Belgium.
According to Mercedes, the trailer, when used in combination with a new Actros tractor, incorporates a number of design features to achieve fuel savings of 528 gals. of fuel and 5 tons of CO2 per year. Engineers equipped the trailer with a front airdam which closes the gap between the trailer and tractor, reducing wind resistance by 1%, the company said.
Side trim panels, similar to side skirts, add an additional 8% improvement. The panels are slightly drawn-in at the front and characterized by an opening at the rear, resulting in air being directed to the striking rear diffuser. The diffuser takes the shape of a parallelogram and links up with the underbody paneling, improving wind resistance an additional 1-2%.
At the rear of the trailer is a rear-end taper, or boat tail, measuring just over 15 in. in length. The taper, which reduces wind resistance 7%, also folds for easy loading and unloading of the trailer.
The real aerodynamic improvements come from boat tails, engineers said, by equipping the trailer with four flaps measuring just 15 in. length and positioned at an angle reduced wind resistance 10%. According to Mercedes, this translates to 3% less fuel consumption or more than 264 gals. of fuel per year.
According to the company, when the boat tail is used in combination with side trim panels and front airdam, the result is an 18% overall improvement in wind resistance, translating to a 5% reduction in fuel consumption.
At this point, the trailer is simply a concept vehicle and is being studied along with the company’s new Actros tractors, which are said to reduce fuel consumption 7% over previous models, as part of Mercedes-Benz’s “Truck and Trailer 7plus” program. The program aims to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.