Scania, a Swedish producer of commercial-duty trucks and buses, is testing a rear-mounted spoiler that the company claims can boost fuel economy by as much as two percent on long-haul tractor-trailers. Dubbed the "boat-tail" spoiler, Scania believes that the simple addition of some permanently affixed metal extensions mounted to the rear of a trailer can increase the economy of semis without significant cost.

The truck producer is currently testing the "boat-tail" spoiler in Sweden and Denmark, but may extend the trials into the Netherlands and Germany. Admittedly, a two-percent boost in economy sounds minuscule at first blush, but when you consider the fact that a long-haul truck, which accumulates about 125,000 miles a year, could cut its annual fuel consumption by 317 gallons with the addition of the "boat-tail" spoiler, then it's not trivial at all. Additionally, by reducing fuel consumption by 317 gallons, the diesel-powered long-haul trucks would also reduce CO2 emissions by more than three tons. Hit the jump to find out more about Scania's boat-tail-equipped tractor-trailers.

[Source: Scania Group]


Scania testing spoiler that can cut truck fuel consumption by 2 percent

Scania has begun practical tests of a rear air deflector known as a boat-tail, which can reduce fuel consumption by up to 2 percent, which corresponds to an annual saving of 1,200 litres of fuel and 3 tonnes of CO2 emissions for a truck running 200,000 km a year.

"I hope that European trailer manufacturers will find it of interest to begin developing an integrated boat-tail," says Anders Gustavsson, Managing Director of the Scania Transport Laboratory.

The boat-tail is mounted on a normal three-axle semitrailer for European long-haulage. The length of the vehicle combination increases by 30 cm, which is equivalent to the extra length permitted for a taillift or other loading equipment according to the European Union's Directive 97/27 EC.

"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," says Anders Gustavsson, Managing Director of the Scania Transport Laboratory (Scania Transportlaboratorium AB).

Fuel savings of 2 per cent not only reduce the transport industry's costs but also lead to large environmental gains.

"For the Transport Laboratory trucks, which run 360,000 km per year and consume an average of 26 litres of fuel per 100 km, it represents a annual saving of almost 1,900 litres of diesel and 5 tonnes 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," Mr Gustavsson says.

A recently introduced EU proposal would amend the current Directive 97/27 EC to allow trailers to be equipped with a rear air deflector that lengths the vehicle combination by 30 cm.

"This is a solution that does not encroach on cargo space and can also be retrofitted on existing trailers. 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," Mr Gustavsson concludes.

The Scania Transport Laboratory is a wholly owned subsidiary of Scania that tests and evaluates vehicle characteristics and performance in commercial road haulage. The company's tasks also include training and coaching its drivers in economical and safe driving techniques. The company accounts for a small portion of the goods haulage to Scania's European production and assembly units. Its fleet consists of 20 tractor units and about 70 semitrailers.

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