'Aeroplane flaps' on lorries to save lives in Europe

April 15, 2013
Lorries in a traffic jam on the E411 dual-carriageway in Sterpenich, Belgium, October 2005. Rolling out round-nosed lorries with aeroplane-style flaps at the back on Europe's roads would cut fuel costs, reduce carbon emissions and save lives, while giving a boost to the struggling auto sector, the European Commission said Monday.

Rolling out round-nosed lorries with aeroplane-style flaps at the back on Europe's roads would cut fuel costs, reduce carbon emissions and save lives, while giving a boost to the struggling auto sector, the European Commission said Monday.

"A brick is the least aerodynamic shape you can imagine, that's why we need to improve the shape of our lorries on the roads," said Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, calling for a change to 1996 specifications for heavy goods vehicles.

Brussels argues that aerodynamic lorries would cut fuel-guzzling and by up to 10 percent while improving a driver's field of vision, saving hundreds of lives of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

A typical long-distance lorry covering 100,000 kilometres (60,000 miles) a year would save 5,000 euros in fuel annually, Kallas said.

So the new rounded trucks would be particularly profitable for the one million—of the 6.5 million on Europe's roads - that regularly travel .

With road transport accounting for more than 70 percent of inland freight in Europe, a change in the specifications would also "give European manufacturers a head-start in designing the truck of the future," Kallas said.

The EU executive's proposal must be adopted by the and the 27 European Union members before becoming law, meaning the new trucks could be on roads by 2018-2020 if the rules are agreed.

The proposals made no mention of allowing so-called 'gigatrucks' or 'megatrucks'—somewhat like Australia's fabled road-trains which can have two or even three trailers in tow. Kallas last year said the use of longer vehicles was a matter for each member state.

In January, Brussels set new rules to ensure that trucks and buses rolling off assembly lines this year will produce significantly less harmful exhaust fumes.

The European Commission said the new norms, known as Euro VI and replacing standards set in 2008, will cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent and particulates by 66 percent.

Explore further: Aerodynamic trailer cuts fuel and emissions by up to 15 percent

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5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2013
"Australia's fabled road-trains."

'Artha open thesaurus: fable ~ noun uncommon
1. a deliberately false or improbable account'

Have a B-double pass you as you drive on Australia's national highways then tell me if they are fabled.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2013
Encountered plenty of road trains over the years, never had a drama even on dirt but I wouldn't call them fabled. A 3 dog unit hauling cattle was the most common I'd encounter in Western Queensland.

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads definitions are:

"Road train" means a combination (other than a B-double) either using a rigid truck hauling unit towing at least one trailer of which the combination length is greater than 19m or a prime
mover hauling unit towing at least two trailers and includes a vehicle categorised as a Btriple,AB-triple, BAB-quad, or ABB-quad. (a converter dolly supporting a semitrailer is counted as one trailer).

"B-double" means a combination consisting of a prime mover towing 2 semitrailers, with 1 semitrailer supported at the front by, and connected to, the other semitrailer.

Want to avoid them then check your route
not rated yet Apr 16, 2013
I'm sure lots of facilities made for the standard 19M length will be quite happy about thier newfound girth. Ferries, garages.

Not that it's not a great idea.
not rated yet Apr 16, 2013
It's hard to imagine how much help it would be to add lift at the back of heavy trailers with flaps. I gather the idea is to make the trailer lighter with speed? Sounds reasonable until the driver needs to slam on the brakes! I think they would be better to cut drag at the back with a teardrop shape. Leave the flaps to the airplanes, please.
1 / 5 (1) Apr 16, 2013
I'm confused, flaps on an aircraft 'slow' the plane by causing drag. How are flaps on a truck going to decrease drag?
I've often thought how stupid trucks noses are being all flat though.
not rated yet Apr 16, 2013
On an aircraft, the flaps increase lift, allowing the plane to fly at lower speeds. I can imagine speed-activated winglets on a heavy vehicle that would add lift at high speeds thereby reducing the wheel load. But the trucks engine would still need to provide the energy to push the air down, creating the lift, so I doubt there would be fueling savings, just tire and road surface wear reductions. Plus, it would need to reverse to become a spoiler or even a downforce wing upon application of the brakes. In the US, one sees many long-haul trucks with drag-reducing panels at the rear and under the trailer. Flaps? Not so much.

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