Upper Wheel Deflector Panels
US Patents US 9,567,016; US 11,400,988
Following the logic presented for shielding the uppermost wheel to minimize vehicle drag, the same solution can be applied to the open wheels of semi-trailers to minimize drag on semi-trucks. Patent US 9,567,016 discloses numerous embodiments of this related invention, all shielding the uppermost portion of the wheel while simultaneously deflecting wind downward onto the de-magnified lower wheel surfaces.
Road tested twice in late 2017 and early 2018 in controlled tests in Pecos, Texas by Messilla Valley Transportation, non-optimized prototype upper wheel deflectors were shown to increase fuel efficiency by a substantial amount for a semi-truck, averaging between 1-2 percent real fuel savings. Properly configured, we expect the achievable actual fuel savings may eventually attain a 2-3 percent savings, thereby offering substantial cost-effective fuel savings to transportation fleets.
First Fuel Economy Road Test of Upper Wheel Deflector Invention for Semitrailers.
Semi-trucks have huge surfaces exposed to winds, and therefore suffer complex aerodynamics requiring varying systems solutions for actually reducing overall vehicle drag. One type of aero enhancement can actually diminish the effectiveness of another. So it becomes important to consider the effectiveness of each enhancement in combination with any other employed solution.
For example, trailer skirts are most effective when the wind is diverted from passing under the front bumper of the tractor. However, underbelly devices work best when more air is allowed to pass under the truck. Thus, our varied solutions are likely best applied in combination with one or the other of these basic configurations. And note that our investigations continue with other patent pending solutions coming soon.
Nevertheless, the trends demonstrated in bicycle testing for increasing effectiveness under higher headwind conditions, has also been confirmed in testing of our upper wheel deflectors for semitrucks. Even when facing relatively light headwinds, the fuel savings achieved was about double that measured against no headwinds in road testing in Pecos, Texas.
This further demonstrates that our upper wheel deflectors indeed offer the potential to dramatically increase fuel efficiency against stronger headwinds. Thus, for fleets operating in the mid-western states where headwinds can be quite strong, our upper wheel deflectors can become even more fuel efficient.