Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No.... It's a TrailerTail®!!

So I was driving down the freeway yesterday morning, and I saw a big rig that looked really funky! It had a big white "screen" looking thing attached to the rear of its trailer.  As I passed the truck, I noticed that the label on the side of this "screen"/cone said "TrailerTail®" and so that inspired me to go look into this strange contraption that is on the market, apparently to save fuel cost, but this is the first time I've seen it.

I found that the company that makes this device is called ATDynamics (and the photos posted in this blog are from them by the way).  Apparently, this TrailerTail® will save 6.6% fuel @ 65 mph.   
The design of the TrailerTail® seems very well thought out. Although it's not so attractive to look at, the aerodynamic properties are designed to save fuel, which is a great bonus, and also the tail reduces rear drag, which lowers emission.  From what I read (obviously I haven't deployed such a system myself) the TrailerTail® is made from reinforced thermo plastic and can be deployed in just 4 seconds.

The price is $2000 a pop, but I'm sure there are package deals available.  For owner-operators, it doesn't seem to make sense to spend money on this since they haul trailers that are owned by other companies, and these companies don't generally care about the fuel usage so they wouldn't see a need to invest in it.  And would an owner-operator be interested enough to carry a TrailerTail around in their bag wherever they go to hitch up a trailer?  Probably not!  (Maybe a portable version will be available sometime down the road?) For large companies that own both tractors and trailers however, it make more sense and if it works as promised, it will add up to quite a few dollars saved on fuel.

Below are some stats on the TrailerTail ®:
(directly copied from ATDynamics.com):


- Panels: thermoplastic composite
(similar material used in trailer scuff liners and side skirts)
- Mounting hardware and hinges: galvanized steel
Available with GreenGraphics™ , custom decals designed to match the look of your fleet

- EPA-verified SAE Type II testing: 6.6% fuel savings at 65 mph (standard TrailerTail®)
- AeroTrailer package: up to 12%+ fuel savings with skirts and/or other underbody trailer enhancements
- TrailerTail® fuel savings has been third party tested and confirmed by over two dozen independent on-road, SAE, and wind-tunnel tests.
Simple fuel savings calculation:
(Estimated annual trailer mileage)
X (gallons saved / highway mile) [see chart below]
X (price of fuel)
= Total annual fuel savings

- EPA SmartWay: Approved as advanced rear fairing
- CARB: Achieves standalone trailer compliance
- Improved vehicle stability from streamlined airflow
- Improved driver visibility due to reduced spray from rear wheels
- Reduced tail-gaiting and fatal rear-end collisions due to 4 ft collapsible extension
- Origami fold: Proprietary origami fold design allows auto-collapse on impact
- Trucker-tough panels: reinforced thermoplastic panels give with impact and bend back to form
- Temperature resistance: highly inert materials maintain their shape in extreme heat and cold
- Weather resistance: with device open, the high-pressure cavity repels precipitation accumulation; panels do not bond with snow and ice and allow water drainage

- Proprietary one-touch deployment system or automatic opening
- Closes automatically or manually in less than 4 seconds
I know it says they are working on more advanced version of the TrailerTail®, among features that are in process of being developed and approved is an automatic feature so the driver doesn't have to manually set the TrailerTail® up.

AND ... as always .... we can't have this much wording in a blog and no truck pictures now, can we?   So here's a few pictures from ATDynamics.com:

Here is a link to various videos from ATDynamics about the TrailerTail®:http://www.atdynamics.com/video_trailertail.htm

Here is a link to FAQs:

For more info, details, testimonials and videos, visit:
If any drivers out there have experience with the TrailerTail®, feel free to comment on your experience.  I'm just naturally curious myself, but others in the industry may find it helpful to hear from someone who has actually used it :)

We'll see if they become more common to see on the road.  If they work as promised .... my guess is that with today's gas/diesel prices, most big companies will be utilizing the TrailerTail® eventually.

Until next time ......... 10-4!


1 comment:

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