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Trailer ‘tails’ numbers growing on U.S. highways

TrailerTail delivers 6.6 percent fuel savings at 65 mph according to SAE type II J1321 third-party tests and is compatible with all major dry van and refrigerated trailer configurations, according to ATDynamics. (ATDynamics photo)

The Trucker News Services

3/30/2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — ATDynamics Inc., which specializes in trailer rear-drag technology, says that U.S. trucking companies are continuing to expand their use of aerodynamic “tails” on trailers to address rising fuel prices.

Speaking to industry journalists at the Mid-American Trucking Show here, Chief Operating Officer Babur Ozden said the company has received orders for 4,000 units since last fall, and 14 million real-world miles have “proven” the company’s fuel efficiency claims for its signature product, TrailerTail.

Among the fleets using ATDynamics systems, Werner Enterprises will install TrailerTails, in addition to aerodynamic trailer skirting, on a fleet of 130 dedicated trailers as part of its commitment to being on the forefront of green transportation technology.

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TrailerTail delivers 6.6 percent fuel savings at 65 mph according to SAE type II J1321 third-party tests and is compatible with all major dry van and refrigerated trailer configurations, according to ATDynamics.   

“Werner Enterprises is dedicated to providing its customers the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible transportation services,” said Steve Phillips, senior vice president of operations at Werner Enterprises.  “Werner has invested significant resources to evaluate advanced fuel-saving technology with the potential to exceed EPA SmartWay requirements.”
ATDynamics also said that the company will significantly expand its TrailerTail product line during 2011 to meet growing demand for aerodynamic tail technology from fleets with diverse operating profiles. 

One of the products to be launched in the fall of 2011 is the TrailerTail Nano, a reduced-length TrailerTail, delivering an expected 4 percent fuel savings. The TrailerTail Nano is designed to provide an aerodynamic alternative for fleets with length constraints due to intensive inner-city operations, pup-trailer fleets or Canadian regulatory requirements.

“Diesel prices are well above $3.00 per gallon and the average trucking company spends over 5 percent of their fuel budget overcoming aerodynamic drag at the rear of their trailers,” said Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of ATDynamics.  “Fleets utilizing TrailerTail technology operate more profitably and more sustainably.” 

TrailerTail technology has the potential to save the North American long-haul trucking industry over $2 billion annually in fuel costs, the company said.

Manufactured in the United States and verified by the EPA SmartWay program, the TrailerTail Model 2011 employs state-of–the-art aerodynamic design to reduce low-pressure suction drag experienced behind semi-trailers pulled at highway speeds. 

Made of ultra-light and high-durability thermoplastic composite materials and a collapsible origami architecture, the technology was approved for operation on US highways by the Department of Transportation in 2008, the company said.

Standard pricing for the TrailerTail is $2,800, meaning a payback period of 6 to 24 months, Ozment said. He also noted the company is looking to expand its current one-year warranty, and offers a 90-day trial for qualifying orders.

More information is available here

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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