Wind of change

Aero­dy­namic truck gives Ken­worth a fuel-sav­ing ad­van­tage

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - james.stan­ford@cars­guide.com.au

KEN­WORTH has de­vel­oped the ul­ti­mate aero­dy­namic truck and trailer com­bi­na­tion. The T680 Ad­van­tage pack­age of wind-cheat­ing and fuel-sav­ing im­prove­ments are all now avail­able in the US.

The T680 is not built in right-hand-drive but some of its tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing com­po­nents from the Ad­van­tage trucks, could soon make their way here.

The T680’s aero­dy­namic de­sign in­cludes a slop­ing roof that pushes air up and over the trailer. The Trailer Nose ad­don re­duces the gap be­tween the front of the trailer and the back of the cab to min­imise the ef­fect of cross­winds.

A cut-out still en­ables the driver to swap trail­ers.

Side skirts fit­ted to the prime mover con­ceal the fuel and AdBlue tanks to cre­ate a smooth air­flow down the side of the truck. The trailer also has side skirts and all wheels have disc cov­ers to re­duce drag.

The most ob­vi­ous aero change is the ATDy­nam­ics Trailer Tail. This odd-look­ing ad­di­tion, of­ten re­ferred to as a duck tail, has been found to de­liver an im­pres­sive fuel sav­ing of 6 per cent.

From the side, it looks as if the trailer doors have been left open— but its side panels point in­wards, the roof panel slopes down and the lower panel faces up. The ta­pered tail helps im­prove the air­flow by break­ing up the low-pres­sure zone at the rear of the trailer and the hinged panels fold out of the way for load­ing and un­load­ing.

The reg­u­la­tion cov­er­ing the max­i­mum length of truck and trailer could af­fect the set-up be­ing adopted in Aus­tralia— a Trailer Tail would ef­fec­tively re­duce space for freight.

Ken­worth fit­ted the Ad­van­tage truck with wide sin­gle wheels and tyres on all but the steer­ing axle, in place of two nar­rower tyres, as a fur­ther weight and fuel sav­ing strat­egy.

The truck is a 6x2, in­stead of 6x4. The prime mover’s rear axle is not driven to save weight and re­duce the load on the engine.

One item on the Ad­van­tage truck that is start­ing to ap­pear in Aus­tralia is the Idle Man­age­ment Sys­tem. Rather than be­ing a stop-start set-up that kills the engine in­stead of idling at lights, it is a bat­tery­pow­ered cli­mate con­trol sys­tem so that driv­ers can avoid the noisy and in­ef­fi­cient prac­tice of idling to run the cab cli­mate con­trol sys­tems.

The IMS is ba­si­cally a split sys­tem— like those used in a house— but can run off four reg­u­lar bat­ter­ies and fea­tures on-board di­ag­nos­tics to mon­i­tor power lev­els. Ken­worth claims it can save fleet op­er­a­tors as much as $7500 a year per truck.

Tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors en­sure in­fla­tion for the least rolling re­sis­tance.

The Ad­van­tage runs the lat­est Pac­car MX13 engine, which is ex­pected to be avail­able soon in Aus­tralian Ken­worths, linked to an Ea­ton Ul­traShift Plus au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion.

The engine soft­ware en­cour­ages the driver to change up to the next gear by lim­it­ing power at cer­tain revs. A built-in lim­iter keeps the truck from run­ning at less ef­fi­cient speeds.

Mean­while, aero­dy­namic cab and trailer ex­ten­sions are set to be­come more pop­u­lar in Europe. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion will change trans­port reg­u­la­tions to al­low for more rounded cab­ins and duck tails.

The cur­rent max­i­mum length of trucks and trail­ers in Europe is 18.75m, which means cab-over trucks are the primem­o­vers of choice.

The EC recog­nises that longer com­bi­na­tions with aero cabs and sleeker trail­ers could cut fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions by up to 10 per cent.

Swoopy styling: Wind-cheat­ing add-ons in­clude wheel cov­ers, side skirts and ‘duck tail’

JAMES STAN­FORD

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