Design study: Mercedes-Benz aero trailer

At the 2011 Trailer Show in Kortrijk, Belgium, Mercedes-Benz presented a futuristic design study named “aero”. According to Mercedes-Benz, the study is able to reduce wind resistance by 18 per cent, decreasing fuel consumption by five per cent.

In close cooperation with the corporation’s Commercial Vehicle Design department, the aero team tried to adapt the knowledge gained in developing the latest Actros model to trailer manufacturing. The new Actros can boast a 12 to 15 per cent decrease in wind resistance as compared to the previous edition.

To replicate that success, the aero is equipped with a front airdam to reduce the distance to the tractor unit and lower wind resistance by one per cent. So-called side trim panels contribute an eight-per cent improvement. They are slightly drawn-in at the front and characterised by a prominent opening at the rear to steer air in the direction of a race car-like rear diffuser. The parallelogram-shaped device is connected to the underbody paneling and improves wind resistance by one to two per cent, according to Mercedes-Benz.

A rear end taper – measuring slightly more than 400 mm in length – forms a crucial part of the aerodynamic concept. It features folding elements to facilitate access to the load compartment and can improve the trailer’s wind resistance by a further seven per cent.

Overall, the aero trailer can reduce the wind resistance of a combination by about 18 per cent, Mercedes-Benz announced in Belgium. According to Mercedes-Benz, this may result in a five-per cent reduction in fuel consumption under real-life conditions.

The aero trailer is the flagship of the new “Truck and Trailer 7plus” initiative being launched by Mercedes-Benz. By taking a holistic approach to both prime mover and trailer it aims at considerably cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

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