A body with low air resistance is a real plus when it comes to saving fuel. DHL Freight demonstrates that truck attachments also do well in the wind and can improve the environmental performance of trucks. A little bit of imagination goes a long way with aerodynamic modifications. So DHL expanded its green fleet to more than 1,300 specially-shaped teardrop trailers. The teardrop shape with the curved roof minimizes air turbulence, thus reducing drag and fuel consumption – by up to ten percent when compared to conventional heavy-duty trucks. “Green transport solutions are an essential part of a modern logistics business. We worked closely together with our partners and customers on customized solutions for their very unique transport requirements. Teardrop trailers are an excellent example of this. They help to “reduce environmental pollution resulting from our business,” said Bernhard Wirth, CEO of DHL Freight Deutschland.
In the field test: “Wing” attachments for trucks
In Belgium, DHL Freight launched another project to improve truck aerodynamics. This involves so-called boat tails, tailgates that have a similar effect as winglets on airplane wings. Initial experience shows that trucks travelling at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour can save one liter of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers if they use the so-called boat tails. The findings have been confirmed in a study done by Delft University of Technology. That would be a big chunk of savings: Heavy trucks easily reach an annual mileage of 100,000 kilometers or more, which would mean conserving at least 1,000 liters of diesel fuel. In terms of cost/benefit analysis, Christoph Schönwandt, Head GoGreen & Corporate Projects DHL Freight, notes that an investment in boat tails will pay off halfway through the lifespan of a trailer.”
Since the extensions extend the truck by 50 centimeters, all countries will need to modernize their laws for Europe-wide use. As part of the transitional arrangements, their use is, however, already possible today – as in the case of the five pilot vehicles in Belgium. The initial feedback has been distinctly positive. “I have just tried out the trailers. Opening and closing the boat tails is easily done in a matter of seconds,” says Tom De Vleeschouwer, Senior Operations Manager Euroline, DHL Freight in Belgium. The next, much larger tranche of trailers with boat tails has since been ordered.
Both innovations are a perfect fit for the overall strategy of the Deutsche Post DHL Group and help to achieve the Group’s ambitious climate protection goals: to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050 and to increase, among others, CO2 efficiency by 50 percent over 2007 by 2025.