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The hunt for the ultimate transport vehicle

Green advisor

Technical developments in the automotive industry progress extremely rapidly. Parallel to this, we are seeing increasing demands on fuel economy and environmental aspects as consumers no longer only expect modern vehicles to offer high performance and comfort. Sustain ability also comes into the picture.

ÅF works with Volvo Trucks on a project that aims to produce a vehicle with optimised aerodynamics. The goal is to reduce fuel consumption with a new design and innovative solutions for larger vehicles.

"At Volvo Trucks, we don't actually manufacture trailers, but in this project we've produced both a truck and a trailer to ensure a comprehensive approach to optimising the aerodynamics," explains Åke Othzén at Volvo Trucks.

The project with Volvo Trucks began in 2011 and the results were presented in August 2016. The original aim was to increase the transport efficiency of the vehicle by 50 percent. Measures to reduce air resistance include, for example, replacing the side mirrors with cameras, spats to cover the wheels and a streamlined design to improve aerodynamic performance. Lower kerb weight and tyres with reduced rolling resistance are other aspects that have helped create a vehicle with improved transport and fuel efficiency.

"If you only refine the truck, you won't achieve enough quite simply. By looking at everything from the trailer design to materials, the entire vehicle is involved and we can achieve reductions in both weight and air resistance," he says Per Landin, section manager at ÅF responsible for trailer development in the project with Volvo Trucks

Increased focus on sustainability in the automotive industry

The sustainability aspects and reduced fuel consumption are fundamental to the project. The fact that the vehicle's external design affects fuel consumption and emissions is an insight that is gaining increasing importance in the automotive industry.

Åke Othzén at Volvo Trucks also agrees as regards the holistic approach: "Naturally, the customer uses the entire articulated lorry, not just the truck. By looking at the entire vehicle, with the trailer and everything else, we can combine sustainability and customer needs in a single project," Åke Othzén concludes.