When you think of a semi truck trailer you think of a giant, lumbering, rectangle. They’ve largely gone unchanged for the better part of a century, slowly adding new features like air conditioning and freight wings. It wasn’t until 2006 that anyone truly tried to change the style of trailers. United Kingdom based company Donbur unveiled the “Teardrop Trailer,” finally bringing a real change to the traditional style.
Is it worth it though? Here are the numbers from the manufacturer’s site:
Estimated Fuel Savings: 11.3% Case Study
10% increase over standard trailer. A standard 4.2m tall trailer has 78m3
From the numbers I’ve been given on the patent holder’s website, it would absolutely be worth it to invest in teardrop trailers. They give an estimated minimum 4-5% increase in fuel efficiency which translates to huge savings. Gas prices have been on the down-tick lately because of economy woes, but it still stands to reason, saving money on fuel is always a good idea. Assuming you use 50,000 gallons of fuel a year per truck you are saving a minimum of 1,000 gallons of diesel. It might not be wise to jump right in and refit your whole fleet, obviously these are not going to be cheap, but with the governments recent push to subsidize fuel efficient vehicles I guarantee there is an initiative to make these tax deductible. Similar to this one with UPS trucks being converted to natural gas engines. CO2 emissions are directly proportional to fuel consumed (2.63kgs CO2 / litre Diesel). One outfit driving 60,000 miles per year cycle at 8.5 mpg will consume 8474 gallons of diesel and generate 84.37 tonnes of CO2. A ten percent reduction in fuel use will cut CO2 emissions by 8.4 tonnes. This will have an enormous environmental impact if used on a large scale.
Lets see how they work:
You can see from the image above, airflow is clearly improved with the teardrop design. The trailer follows the contour of the cab allowing air to pass evenly over the back of the trailer. The extra bump at the top of the trailer accounts for a 10% increase in space. Mind you, it might not be utilized by all shippers but it could definitely be a plus for certain types of freight. More case studies should be emerging as these trailers become more prevalent. DHL has agreed to a long term contract with the manufacturer and they have freight services in almost everyone country. There are not any major distributors in the United States as of yet, but we’ll be on the lookout.
The image below is of one of DHL’s trucks with a teardrop trailer. Wouldn’t that look much nicer with some big truck accessories? We certainly think so! Let us know what you think!