The aero trailer was developed by Mercedes-Benz in cooperation with the Commercial Vehicle Design department.
For this concept the designers have applied the same principles used on the new premium truck, the Actros, which resulted in 12-15% aerodynamic efficiency increase.
The trailer features a number of exterior enhancements that together allow to achieve a 18% increase in aerodynamic efficiency.
The side trim panels are slightly drawn-in at the front and characterized by an opening at the rear that steers the air in the direction of the rear diffuser, and contribute an eight-percent improvement.
The diffuser at the rear has the shape of a parallelogram and links up with the underbody panelling, thus improving the wind resistance by one to two percent.
The rear end taper improves wind resistance by a further seven percent.
All in all the aero trailer lowers the wind resistance of the entire semitrailer tractor by approximately 18 percent. According to Mercedes-Benz this would result in a reduction in fuel consumption amounting to almost five percent in real-life road traffic.
In spite of all the aerodynamic solutions,the dimensions of the trailer load compartment remain totally unaffected – measuring 13.6 m in length, 2.55 m in width and with an overall height of four meters.
The aero trailer’s only restriction is the fact that its length measurement exceeds the currently permissible limit by almost half a meter, due to the tail-end extension.
The aero trailer is the flagship of the new “Truck and Trailer 7plus” initiative being launched by Mercedes-Benz. By taking a holistic approach to the tractor unit and trailer it aims to considerably cut the fuel consumption – and thus also the CO2 emissions of semitrailer tractors at the same time.
Mercedes-Benz will be presenting these ideas for the first time on the occasion of the “Trailer 2011” show taking place between 25 and 29 November in Kortrijk, Belgium.
Below we report some details on the history of Mercedes-Benz research in the aerodynamics of commercial vehicles, together with a set of design sketches from the past two decades.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks: aerodynamic research
There is a long tradition of adopting a holistic approach to the truck and trailer at Mercedes-Benz.
Even back in the mid-1980s the development engineers were carrying out in-depth investigations into the aerodynamics of entire vehicle combinations.
The fundamental knowledge gained back then is still valid to this day and forms the basis for the current investigations.
In those days the focus was merely on saving fuel for economic reasons; priority had not yet been given to protecting the environment by reducing CO2 output.
Today, some 25 years later, environment relief, conservation of resources and economy represent seamless additions, in the form of the “Truck and Trailer 7plus” initiative.