New Technologies Are Helping Class 8 Tractor-Trailers Improve Overall Utilization And Efficiency

The utilization and efficiency of today’s class 8 tractor trailers will ultimately increase, courtesy of exciting developments through today’s advanced technology. Whether batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, or diesel powers one of these tractor-trailers, through improved aerodynamics, the vehicle’s range can now be improved by the trailer.

To take advantage of some of the advancements and improvements that are promoting class 8 tractor-trailers to a new level, fleet managers need service centers, technicians, and mechanics. With these, they can implement, accessorize, and incorporate the improvements available into their existing fleet – unless new, customized vehicles are being purchased. Even then, a reliable service center is essential for keeping tractor-trailers up and running 24/7.

Mickey Genuine Parts is more than just a parts dealer – we have certified service centers located throughout the United States for your convenience. We are the perfect partner for keeping fleets on the road and making money – and that is, after all, the goal of any company that uses tractor-trailers to transport goods.

Let’s look at some technologies and improvements.

Drag Reduction

To reduce drag, to the rear, sides, and front of trailers, new devices are being attached. One device that reduces the trailer/tractor gap during travel on the highway is referred to as “Truck Wings”. At about 50 mph, the device automatically deploys (during acceleration). At the same road speed, the device retracts when the vehicle slows. According to the system’s developer, Daniel Burroughs, between 6% and 4% fuel savings can be realized by fleets using Truck Wings. Additionally, on compressed natural gas-powered tractors, this device can be specified.

Other aerodynamic “wing” devices have been developed, discontinued, and redeveloped. One such device was for rear door aerodynamics. Since its development and discontinuation, other companies have introduced drag reducing aids that are less complex, while still improving airflow. These rear-of-the-trailer devices offer between 3.6% and 3.3% efficiency improvements. One of the most attractive features of this device, other than the efficiency enhancements, is that no driver involvement is required for operation.

Trailer Side Skirts

Standard on some dry van and refrigerated trailers are side skirts. The design of this rear fairing is to direct heat away from the trailer and diminish turbulence. Particularly for refrigerated trailers, this is important. Fuel efficiency can be increased approximately 8% through the use of the side skirts.

Charging Systems Using Solar Panels

In addition to improving the aerodynamics of tractor-trailers, solar panels are being mounted on the roofs with which to charge refrigeration units’ batteries or the batteries used for pallet jacks and lift gates. A wiring harness and controller go with the solar panels to complete the system. System sizes vary from 600 W products down to 100 W. Trickle charging batteries helps to extend battery life, eliminating recharging after batteries have been deeply drained (because the charge is continual).

Modern Telematics in Class 8 Tractor Trailers

While trailers sit idle, new telematics systems offer data on things like rear axle weight, burned out lights, cargo weight, open doors, tire inflation, and more. To cloud-based storage, via a cellular network, data is transferred through the use of a built-in modem. Though this system is highly beneficial to fleet managers, there is still much room for improvement. Currently, in comparison to all the information/data that could be received about a tractor-trailer, these telematics systems are only making approximately 40% available. Of course, 40% is certainly better than nothing, but still leaves room for growth!

The service technicians employed by Mickey Genuine Parts are knowledgeable regarding all of today’s technological and aerodynamic advances. Count on Mickey as a trusted partner to help keep your fleet cruising down the highways and byways with efficiency, safety, and reliability.

Let’s keep truckin'.

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