ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. and NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Wabco Holdings Inc. today launched its OptiFlow AutoTail and Tail that is predicted to deliver up to 4.3 percent fuel savings at highway speeds and reduce CO² emissions by up to 4.8 tons per trailer per year.
The launch took place at the TMC Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition.
The trade show runs today through March 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wabco’s OptiFlow AutoTail deploys and retracts tail panels based on driving speed as determined by sensors linked to Wabco’s Trailer Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS). The device automatically deploys at vehicle speeds of 45 mph, ensuring it is consistently used at speeds that maximize aerodynamic fuel savings. The tail panels automatically retract at a vehicle speed of 10 mph.
“Automatic retraction improves maneuverability and enhances safety by ensuring panels are folded in city centers, loading docks and other areas where trailers are in close proximity to pedestrians or objects,” Wabco spokesmen noted.
WABCO also featured its OptiFlow Tail for the first time in North America. “Easy to deploy and retract manually, WABCO OptiFlow Tail provides identical fuel savings as OptiFlow AutoTail. It features a lightweight design that is straightforward to install and retrofit and is easily upgraded to OptiFlow AutoTail.”
Both OptiFlow Tail and AutoTail are made from automotive grade thermoplastic, a lightweight, durable and long-lasting material constructed to resist wear from weather, vibration and everyday hazards of the trucking industry. The injection-molded panels offer a unique, curved shape and smooth surface that reduces air resistance.
“We are proud to introduce an array of innovative aerodynamic solutions in North America that will improve efficiency of commercial vehicles for fleet operators and transport companies alike,” said Jon Morrison, Wabco President, Americas. “Wabco’s OptiFlow AutoTail and Tail represent our first product integration in North America after we acquired aerodynamic technology leader Laydon Composites Ltd. (LCL) in April 2016. Based on our combined world-class aerodynamics expertise, design and manufacturing capabilities we deliver aerodynamic solutions that will help our fleet customers meet U.S. greenhouse gas emission regulations to take effect in January 2018.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new greenhouse gas Phase 2 standards that are expected to slash CO² emissions from a wide range of commercial trucks, buses and cargo vans by approximately 25 percent compared to current levels. The regulations prompted manufacturers to achieve reductions through a mix of technologies, including aerodynamics, weight improvements and tire solutions. Regulators expect the additional cost of complying with the standards to be offset by fuel savings.
“Having combined the strengths of two technology pioneers, Wabco is advancing aerodynamics to make an even more significant difference in the efficiency of commercial vehicles,” said Brian P. Layfield, Wabco Global Aerodynamics Leader and former President of LCL. “Our OptiFlow products feature state-of-the-art design, materials and technologies that enable fleets to optimize fuel efficiency while improving vehicle safety and operating convenience.”
The first aerodynamic tail in the U.S. to feature automatic deployment and retraction, Wabco’s OptiFlow AutoTail is also the first product to earn EPA SmartWay verification from the National Research Council (NRC), the Canadian government’s research and technology organization.