AUSTIN, Texas — FlowBelow Aero Inc., a supplier of aerodynamic systems for tractors and trailers, announced upgrades to its Trailer AeroSlider and said the latest version of the product has been verified for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program.
The enhanced AeroSlider system uses aerodynamic fairings around the trailer wheels, as well as wheel covers and aerodynamic mud flaps to reduce drag and boost fuel efficiency by about 2%.
The system mounts to the sliding trailer suspension and moves with the slider to control airflow around the wheels.
“This approach seems to be the most practical way to address the aerodynamics of the trailer tandem without sacrificing durability or accessibility,” FlowBelow CEO Josh Butler said during an Oct. 28 press conference here at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.
The new “stage 2” version of the AeroSlider adds a rear fairing and supporting brackets to the original product introduced in 2017.
Testing conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute according to SmartWay protocols found that the stage 2 AeroSlider reduced fuel consumption by 1.93%, an additional savings of 0.7% compared with the original product, FlowBelow said.
The SmartWay program is a partnership between EPA and the transportation industry to improve freight efficiency and identify technologies that enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Fleet pilot programs are underway, but the AeroSlider stage 2 has not yet entered high-volume production.
“This is positioned really for the more aggressive fleets that are already using skirts and other devices and want to push the limits of efficiency, so we’ll be working with those guys first,” Butler said.
Fleets can upgrade the original AeroSlider to the stage 2 version by adding the new components, he said.
FlowBelow also announced that its “quick-release” wheel covers now are available as a factory installation on all International LT and RH Series trucks.
The wheel covers also will be included on the LT Series’ new “MPG package” focused on fuel economy.
FlowBelow’s wheel covers utilize a quick-release system to allow easy access to the wheels.