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Old 01-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Wal-Mart aero-mods 1,000 of its 7,000 semi-trucks?

On 12/15/08 probably between 11 a.m. and noon, EST, on "The Call" on CNBC cable financial channel there was a brief segment, Margaret Brennan's "Powering The Planet" report about:

Wal-Mart is cutting costs by hiring Peterbilt to make 1,000 trucks with

1) big flaps (skirting) underneath the trailers for improved aerodynamics

2) "Super Single" tires instead of pairs of less-huge tires on the trailers

3) boat-tail in-tapering flaps on the rear edges of the trailer

Wal-Mart fellow Chris Soltzenmayer (sp?) also explains how Wal-Mart is inducing suppliers to use packaging that weighs less and is using logistics computers to lessen even further unused space inside trailers.

Wal-Mart claims these changes together make delivery 21% more efficient than it was just 3 years ago.

([it was unclear to me if that 21% improvement was entirely from weight and logistics changes, i.e. not the "aero" stuff])

The segment closes with "Wal-Mart hopes to roll out their first hybrid tractor-trailer early [2009]. For more on future energy, check out "Powering the Planet" on Stock Market News, Business News, Financial, Earnings, World Market News and Information - CNBC.com "

Whenever I was driving around last summer during the height of the fuel price spike I personally never saw ANY company's tractor-trailer with ANY aer-mod besides the now-commonplace shroud/bubble on top of the cab/ front face of the trailer. i.e. I still haven't seen a 1) or a 3)

Seems like Wal-Mart's changes would be quite beneficial on a colossal scale


Last edited by oldpecan; 01-07-2009 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wal- Mart

The rumor-mill has it that Wal-Mart is going for a fleet-ave. 13-mpg.Perhaps this is their opening salvo.Thanks for sharing the info!
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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better late than never - here's the little video from cnbc dot com (I hope it works for you)

Video - CNBC.com

aerohead, 13 mpg's for semi-trucks? that's ambitious!
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: video - did she say "bow tails" instead of boat tails?

Also see Green Car Congress:

Quote:
"Wal-Mart has set a goal of doubling the fuel efficiency of its new heavy-duty trucks by 2015. Some of the changes include trailer side skirts. Wind skirts under the trailer significantly reduce wind resistance and reduces airflow around the trailer. This is a big fuel economy benefit."
source: Green Car Congress: Wal-Mart Seeks to Double Truck Fuel Economy by 2015

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Old 01-13-2009, 12:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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13 is huge... my dad's trucks get about 8.

I see skirts a lot now... DHL and Atlantic come to mind as the most prevelant.
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpecan View Post
better late than never - here's the little video from cnbc dot com (I hope it works for you)

Video - CNBC.com

aerohead, 13 mpg's for semi-trucks? that's ambitious!
Yeah,13 is a lot.The Fruehauf/International combo of the 1980s was rated at 10-mpg,but I think they only drove it 50-mph.It had everything Wal-Mart is showing,including the tires.------------ 80,000 lbs GVW and 95-square-feet of frontal area,at highway speeds is a challenge.-------------- My opinion is that a total rethink about 18-wheelers and truck freight is necessary.And that's why I'm confident it will never happen in my lifetime.So much invested already,I can't imagine anybody willing to give it up,even if it saved the country,saved the planet.Soldiers remain too cheap.
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Old 01-13-2009, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That'd be amazing if an 80,000lb big rig got better fuel mileage than my co-workers durango which gets 12mpg Would really show how completely inefficient some vehicles coughdurangocough are


Ever noticed the massive airdams on big rigs? I suppose the side skirts are just a logical extension of the aerodynamics they started at the front of the vehicle.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One additional benefit may be it will make the aero wake from passing trucks less of a problem for the vehicles they are passing.

Not sure what it does for those following close behind though.

Pete.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A Kenworth T2000 would be way more aerodynamic than that International.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Last time I heard of a big rig's fuel mileage, the numbers being bandied about were around 8-9. Nobody even whispered anything in the teens.

Thirteen would be a quantum leap. That's just phenomenal.

Better yet, why not load the trailer, then put it on a train? Trains do even better.

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