Meet “FutureTruck”, the result of an AirFlow Truck Company project to develop a more aerodynamic over-the-road truck which, the truck’s designers claim, would cut fuel consumption and harmful carbon emissions by as much as 50%.
FutureTruck’s design process was heavily dependent on CFD software, which moves some pretty heavy numbers to determine the path air takes over (or, in some cases, through) a given object. The project’s design lead, Jeremy Singley, explains that “Streamlining is an intuitive process. There are basic rules anyone can learn in a short time, but mostly it’s a question of looking at the CFD flow lines and pressure areas and saying ‘… what happens if I tweak this over here?’.”
The design is intended to be sold as a sort-of body “kit” to retro-fit onto existing commercial truck frames, minimizing the up-front costs of the design’s acceptance by owner/operators and its adoption by fleet managers into their existing commercial fleets. “With funding from Vermont’s EPSCoR grant (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), I’ve been working on a FutureTruck design, a theoretical concept that assumes new tooling from the ground up,” Singley said. “So far this design shows a CFD result of 63 percent drag reduction over a conventional streamliner.”
No mention was made of when (or if) a full-scale prototype would be built – but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The design was – quite literally – phoned in. “We did the whole thing over the phone,” Singley said. “I met Bob (Silwa, of the AirFlow Truck Company) in person only recently.”
So, maybe the FutureTruck is vaporware (60/40 in favor vaporware, at least – and don’t expect one iota of reduced fuel consumption in traffic), but at least it’s
good-looking vaporware different. Plus (!), it gives us an excuse to join in for a rousing chorus of “Monorail!”