Despite their pretensions to ‘advanced logistics’, I often see the front, truck sections of articulated lorries speeding around the UK without their trailers. Given the amount of griping which the cost of fuel provokes in lorry drivers, I’m very surprised that they are content to race about in possibly the least aerodynamically efficient vehicle possible. The technical term is a ‘flat-plate.’
A great deal of research work has been done which addresses the fuel efficiency of the whole artic, but very little which aims to help any truck unit finding itself, somehow, at the wrong end of the country without a load.
Today’s invention attempts to lessen their fuel bills. Each truck or tractor unit would be equipped with a fold-out rigid enclosure, deployed from the back of the cab-over-engine unit when the trailer was detached. This might be inflatable or made from some kind of stressed skin over a frame -like a spring-loaded, self-erecting tent.
This would have the effect of smoothing the aerodynamic profile of the vehicle so as to more closely resemble the ideal ‘teardrop’ shape. Each system could be suppled and fitted, I reckon, for around the price of a couple of tanks of fuel.