As fleets seek to save on fuel costs, meet federal greenhouse gas emissions standards, and meet growing sustainability goals, they are looking for additional ways to reduce drag and carbon emissions from the vehicles at their disposal today.
A technology provider in space, TruckLabs, has driven its TruckWings device half a billion kilometers, resulting in a saving of approximately 32,648 tons of CO2 to date. TruckWings is a fully automated aerodynamic device designed for truck fleets and is deployed in five of North America’s largest fleets – including Ryder, which ranks #3 fleet owner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 List.
TruckWings is tractor mounted and designed to bridge the gap between tractor and trailer on Class 8 trucks, resulting in fuel savings of 3% to 6%. The device also increases the range for electric trucks by 5.5%, according to TruckLabs in a press release.
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“Five hundred million miles is a huge milestone for us. It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering lasting double win results in both carbon emissions and dollars. Our telematics technology tracks every mile driven through harsh Canadian winters and asphalt-melting Arizona summers. It is a great credit to the engineering team to have reached this milestone so quickly,” said Daniel Burrows, Founder and CEO of TruckLabs. “TruckWings helps fleets reduce fuel costs and emissions today and will improve the range of electric trucks in the future.”
During an interview with fleet owner, added Burrows that many fleets that operate CNG-powered trucks equip their vehicles with TruckWings because of this range extension and performance increase. He noted that aerodynamics will become even more important as the industry adopts more alternative fuel technologies.
Burrows was also quick to point out that his company’s 500 million-mile milestone isn’t based on estimates; Rather, it is real telematics data coming from the devices.
“Everyone calls home and tells us what’s going on,” he explained. “For those half a billion kilometers, we can tell you which trucks, which routes, which customers, and the performance of those units.”
TruckWings are becoming more common across the trucking industry, and each unit on the road helps save about 20,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually, the company found. TruckLabs is working with multiple manufacturers to become a standard specification for their trucks so fleets don’t have to rely on aftermarket upgrades, Burrows said fleet owner.
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“At highway speeds, two-thirds of fuel is used to overcome drag. In today’s environment, designing a more streamlined truck is the most cost-effective way to improve a truck’s efficiency,” said Andrew Kelly, vice president of product at TruckLabs. They expect us to help them get there. This is especially true in the day cab market, where the aerodynamics of tractors lag behind their sleeper counterparts.”
Today, many of the fleets that TruckLabs works with buy TruckWings due to sustainability initiatives to meet their stringent internal carbon targets as well as their customers’ climate goals.
“Companies within the industry respond with what their customers ask for,” Burrows said. “Your customers are asking for electronics. In many ways that is not possible today, but it is growing. So what we’re saying is give them a more efficient truck as a stepping stone to electric. Invest in the vehicle platform, because eventually you will replace it [internal combustion engine] with electric motor. People ask for it, and ultimately it is the consumer who asks for it.”