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World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Truck & Trailer: saving fuel, cutting emissions

World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Truck & Trailer: saving fuel, cutting emissions

Sep 21, 2012
  • Aerodynamics Trailer saves 2000 litres of diesel and five tons of CO2 emissions annually
  • Drag cut by a sensational 18 percent, fuel consumption by 4.5 percent
  • A perfect ending: the "boat tail" rear end taper
  • Aerodynamics Truck cuts fuel consumption by three percent
Stuttgart/Hanover – Filling the tank of a long-haul articulated vehicle now costs between 1000 and 2000 euros. Daimler's Aerodynamics Truck & Trailer initiative drastically reduces drag and fuel consumption. The Aerodynamics Trailer results in annual savings of around 2000 litres of diesel per articulated vehicle, corresponding to almost 3000 euros. At the same time, annual emissions are cut by more than five tons of CO2. The Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Truck also boasts impressive fuel efficiency figures. The 2012 International Motor Show for Commercial Vehicles will feature the world premieres of both Truck and Trailer.
Drag cut by a sensational 18 percent, fuel consumption by 4.5 percent
The Aerodynamics Trailer which has been designed and developed by Mercedes-Benz reduces the drag of the entire articulated vehicle by around 18 percent. Practical tests confirm that fuel savings of 4.5 percent are attainable in long-distance haulage with a 40-ton articulated vehicle incorporating the Aerodynamics Trailer. At a customary annual mileage for a long-haul articulated vehicle of 150,000 kilometres, this means a reduction in diesel consumption of around 2000 litres, while CO2 emissions are cut by more than five tons annually.
When extrapolated on the basis of the mileage covered by all trucks subject to toll charges on German motorways, this is equivalent to savings of 300 million litres of diesel annually – corresponding to the load carried by a supertanker. This would mean a reduction in CO2 emissions of 800,000 tons.
Actros StreamSpace semi-trailer tractor remains unchanged
The semi-trailer tractor – here the new Mercedes-Benz Actros with StreamSpace cab – remains unchanged. The new Actros is already aerodynamically optimised. The only additional fittings are an air deflector on the roof, cab side deflectors and side panelling. This streamlining package is available ex-factory.
Aerodynamics Trailer meets all practical needs without compromise
Devoid of any futuristic affectations, the Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Trailer is designed to meet all practical needs without any restrictions. It is based on a standard 13.6 m long box body for refrigerated goods transport. The Aerodynamics Trailer accommodates all the customary day-to-day requirements of haulage operations, from ground clearance through approach/departure angle to user-friendly operation of the rear portal. The aerodynamic measures leave the box unchanged.
The two partners Daimler Trucks and renowned trailer specialist Schmitz Cargobull have devoted special attention to practical considerations, with Schmitz Cargobull producing the attachments in close collaboration with Daimler Trucks.
The Aerodynamics Trailer is not tied specifically to the Mercedes-Benz brand: all trailer manufacturers are invited to develop economical and environment-friendly semi-trailers on the basis of the Aerodynamics Trailer.
Maximum efficiency: Actros and Aerodynamics Trailer
Background to the Aerodynamics Truck & Trailer initiative: in the new Actros, Mercedes-Benz has launched the most efficient heavy-duty truck on the roads. This has been demonstrated on the Record Run over 10,000 kilometres on motorways in Europe, which the Euro VI-compliant Actros 1845 completed on only 25.9 l of fuel per 100 km. The truck's outstanding showing has been confirmed by customers and current press tests. On the basis of this performance, no further major savings potential in the area of fuel consumption is likely in the short term.
The Aerodynamics Trailer demonstrates that perfect interaction between tractor and trailer is crucial to achieving maximum efficiency. On the basis of the Record Run, fuel consumption of less than 25 l per 100 km for a 40-ton articulated vehicle is a realistic proposition with the combination of Mercedes-Benz Actros and Aerodynamics Trailer. Only a few years ago, experts would have dismissed such figures as utopian.
Not a showcar, but a realistic articulated vehicle
Numerous individual measures on the trailer reduce the aerodynamic drag of the overall articulated vehicle. An air deflector on the bulkhead of the trailer reduces the distance from the tractor. The side panels direct the air flowing past in the direction of the distinctive rear diffusor, which joins up with the underbody panelling. Detailed panelling on the tail lamps and for the landing gear under the body demonstrate the meticulous aerodynamic fine tuning.
A perfect ending: the "boat tail" rear end taper
A key feature of the aerodynamic concept is the "boat tail", a rear end taper with a maximum length of 400 mm. The tail's elements are hinged, allowing the customary access to the load compartment. The wings of the rear end taper are made of aluminium. The side panels feature an elegant curved form.
Future EU length regulation will permit rear end taper
While the "boat tail" makes the Aerodynamics Trailer longer, it is of crucial importance to the aerodynamics of an articulated vehicle. Corresponding appeals to the lawmakers have not gone unheard: this May, the EU Commission recommended an extension of the maximum length by up to 500 mm for aerodynamic measures at the rear. It is to be assumed that the new length regulations will be adopted into EU law by the spring.
Aerodynamics Truck cuts fuel consumption by three percent
The Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Truck prototype demonstrates that an aerodynamically optimised solo truck is also an economical and ecological proposition. The Aerodynamics Truck improves aerodynamic performance by around twelve percent in comparison to conventional vehicles. These means fuel savings of around three percent on trunk roads. At an annual mileage of 50,000 kilometres, this adds up to savings of around 350 l per year, cutting costs for the operator by 500 euros and emissions by just under one ton of CO2. Test drives have confirmed the projected figures.
Basis of the Aerodynamics Truck: Actros ClassicSpace
The basis of the Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics Truck is a two-axle chassis with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 18 t and the 2.3 m wide Actros ClassicSpace cab. For the Aerodynamics Truck, too, the cab offers good aerodynamics as standard.
No air deflector on the bulkhead is required here, but a spoiler is fitted on the cab roof. In contrast to many inappropriately shaped box bodies, the Aerodynamics Truck has an edge radius of 80 mm at the sides and 200 mm on the bulkhead. This ensures that the airflow hugs the vehicle's contours effectively.
The side panelling and the rear diffusor are reminiscent of the Aerodynamics Trailer. The underbody of the Aerodynamics Truck is provided with panelling over its entire surface area. The outstanding feature of the Aerodynamics Truck is once again the rear portal with a "boat tail". The spring-actuated portal elements can be folded to the sides – behind the flaps a cargo liftgate provides access to the cargo area.
Further measurements and customer driving trials
Further extensive fuel consumption measurements and test drives are to be carried out with the Aerodynamics Trailer and Aerodynamics Truck this autumn. In the next phase, selected customers will test the articulated vehicle consisting of a Mercedes-Benz Actros and the Aerodynamics Trailer in everyday haulage operations.
Should a corresponding level of demand materialise, it will be possible to put both the Aerodynamics Trailer and the Aerodynamics Truck into series production relatively quickly. It is conceivable that the Aerodynamics Truck could be upgraded with an appropriately equipped trailer to form an Aerodynamics Truck/Trailer combination.
Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics truck, wind tunnel