AUSTIN, Texas — Swift Transportation Co. will begin deploying thousands of FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit systems in its fleet immediately, FlowBelow Aero and Swift Transportation said in a joint announcement Tuesday.
Swift Transportation is North America’s largest full-truckload carrier, operating over 18,000 trucks throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, and logging more than a billion miles per year.
“Here at Swift we are laser focused on implementing new technologies that are economical and proven to improve safety, fuel efficiency, and driver comfort,” said Bert Kinsel, vice president of heavy equipment procurement. “Over the years we have refined the spec's of our trucks and trailers to optimize the air flowing around the vehicle and reduce drag as much as possible. Many aerodynamic products for trailers exist today, and we certainly utilize those that work well for us. But because we operate over 3 trailers for every 1 truck in the fleet, meaning that our trailers are utilized approximately one-third as much as the tractors, the return on an investment for a trailer-mounted technology can take a lot longer than a comparable technology installed on one of our trucks. FlowBelow’s system only needs to be installed on the tractor. The best thing about it is that it makes an impact on every mile we drive.”
The FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit reduces aerodynamic turbulence and drag around the rotating wheels of the truck, according to FlowBelow CEO Josh Butler, who said the system includes four quick-release wheel covers as well as four fairings strategically placed between and behind the drive wheels of the truck.
For trucks traveling above 40 mph, the system is highly effective at reducing drag.
“Lower drag means less horsepower is required to move the vehicle, which results in improved fuel efficiency,” Butler said.
Citing multiple third-party tests, FlowBelow claims the Tractor AeroKit is verified to provide up to a 2.23 percent fuel savings.
Swift first began testing the Tractor AeroKit in 2014 and employs an extensive evaluation.
“It is truly amazing when you consider how much fuel is consumed by trucks today,” Butler said. “A countless number of engineers and entrepreneurs are working tirelessly to bring new ideas into practice in order to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from heavy vehicles. By working with Swift, the largest truckload carrier in the nation, we are putting some of those countless engineering hours into practice and making a major impact in the process.”
Each AeroKit includes four quick-release wheel covers, which provide instantaneous access to the wheel end via FlowBelow’s patented “push and turn” quick-release latching system.
The AeroKit is complementary to other aerodynamic devices installed on the trailer, allowing a fleet to capture all available fuel savings from aerodynamic improvements across the entire vehicle.
The FlowBelow Tractor AeroKit was first introduced in 2013, and is now available as a factory-installed option on certain new model trucks.
FlowBelow confirmed that customers ordering new Freightliner or Kenworth trucks from their dealers throughout North America can spec' the truck with the system to have it financed with the equipment and installed prior to taking delivery.
Some fleets, such as MVT, Hirschbach, and others have deployed the FlowBelow system via a full fleet retrofit program. Today, retrofit applications account for over half of FlowBelow’s business.
The system can be installed in as little as one hour for retrofits.
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