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Boat Tail Reduces Truck Fuel Consumption By 7.5 Percent

November 5, 2009

Public highways

A boat tail is a tapering protrusion about two meters in length mounted on the rear of a truck. The boat tail had already proved itself during wind tunnel experiments and computer simulations, both conducted at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands; TU Delft), in theory and using small-scale models. Now an articulated lorry fitted with a boat tail has also undergone extensive testing on public highways.

Emissions

An articulated lorry was driven for a period of one year with a boat tail (of varying length) and one year without a boat tail. The improved aerodynamics, depending on the length of the boat tail, resulted in reduced fuel consumption (and emissions!) of up to 7.5 percent. The optimum boat tail length proved to be two meters.

PART

The tests were conducted by PART. This is a platform in which academics, road transport manufacturers, transport companies and shippers work together. The platform aims to reduce fuel consumption in the road transport industry by improving aerodynamics. PART’s ambition is to achieve a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the road transport industry by 2020. TU Delft acts as secretary of PART. PART has previously conducted road tests on a new generation of aerodynamic sideskirts, which are to make their commercial debut later this year.

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