The first aerodynamic tail in the US to feature automatic deployment and retraction, WABCO’s OptiFlow AutoTail is also the first product to earn EPA SmartWay verification from the prestigious National Research Council (NRC), the Canadian government’s premier research and technology organisation.
WABCO’s OptiFlow AutoTail deploys and retracts tail panels based on driving speed as determined by sensors linked to WABCO’s Trailer Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS). The device automatically deploys at vehicle speeds of 45 mph ensuring it is consistently used at speeds that maximise aerodynamic fuel savings. The tail panels automatically retract at a vehicle speed of 10 mph.
OptiFlow AutoTail delivers fuel savings of up to 4.3% at highway speeds based on SmartWay test protocol, and reduces CO₂ emissions by up to 4.8 tons per trailer per year. Automatic retraction also improves maneuverability and enhances safety by ensuring panels are folded in city centres, loading docks and other areas where trailers are in close proximity to pedestrians or objects.
WABCO also features its OptiFlow Tail for the first time in North America. Easy to deploy and retract manually, WABCO OptiFlow Tail provides identical fuel savings as OptiFlow AutoTail. It features a lightweight design that is straightforward to install and retrofit. OptiFlow Tail is easily upgraded to OptiFlow AutoTail.
Both OptiFlow Tail and AutoTail are made from automotive grade thermoplastic, an extremely lightweight, durable and long-lasting material that resists wear from weather, vibration and everyday hazards of the trucking industry. The injection-molded panels offer a unique, curved shape and smooth surface that reduces air resistance.
“We are proud to introduce an array of innovative aerodynamic solutions in North America that will improve efficiency of commercial vehicles for fleet operators and transport companies alike,” said Jon Morrison, WABCO President, Americas. “WABCO’s OptiFlow AutoTail and Tail represent our first product integration in North America after we acquired aerodynamic technology leader Laydon Composites (LCL) in April 2016. Based on our combined world-class aerodynamics expertise, design and manufacturing capabilities we deliver aerodynamic solutions that will help our fleet customers meet US greenhouse gas emission regulations to take effect in January 2018.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued new greenhouse gas phase 2 standards that are expected to slash CO2 emissions from a wide range of commercial trucks, buses and cargo vans by approximately 25% compared to current levels. The regulations prompt manufacturers to achieve reductions through a mix of technologies, including aerodynamics, weight improvements and tire solutions. Regulators expect the additional cost of complying with the standards to be offset by fuel savings.
“Having combined the strengths of two technology pioneers, WABCO is advancing aerodynamics to make an even more significant difference in the efficiency of commercial vehicles,” said Brian P. Layfield, WABCO Global Aerodynamics Leader and former President of LCL. “Our OptiFlow products feature state-of-the-art design, materials and technologies that enable fleets to optimise fuel efficiency while improving vehicle safety and operating convenience.”