Aerodynamics vs esthetics

This week, our teacher explained in class that trucks are aerodynamically horrible. Those who understand aerodynamics at least a bit, will agree. But attempts have been made (for a long time already) to reduce the drag of trucks. These trucks have a tremendously reduced drag (sometimes up to 50%), but they are ugly. Therefore no company buys these trucks and they keep the trucks with the old design. Since trucks (and buses) take up a huge amount of fuel consumption and pollution, aerodynamics are very important for them, however no improvements are made. The only improvements are the ones on direct fuel economy like better engines and electric engines.

Part of the problem is off course that the aerodynamic trucks are still more expensive than the original ones. Maybe if the government subsidises the aerodynamic trucks, things might change.

I think that although the aerodynamic trucks are more expensive in investment, they will eventually be cheaper because the reduced operating costs. Especially if you consider that trucks generally drive quite long, you can see many deteriorated trucks in operation.

Do you think maybe a subsidy from the government, or a penalty for using the old design should be used? Or is there another better solution?

Here’s an image of the aerodynamic truck:


1 Comment

  1. There are simple improvements with minor aesthetic changes like the “new american truck” Airflow Bullet Truck:

    But why the trucking/shipment industry hasn’t adopted these changes yet is a very big mystery to me… Aviation has been constantly pushing for more fuel efficiency (especially the last 20 years), but a truck hasn’t been (decently) aerodynamically changed since their introduction. Only small improvements like the cap over the cabin have been introduced in the 90’s, yet still they retain their flat nose.

    In my opinion a radical design change shouldn’t be subsidized as it’s already been extensively researched in Europe and the U.S. Since manufacturers apparently refuse to change design, a penalization system like you said might prove the only solution… Time will tell.


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