Most Americans know that semi trucks, while cumbersome on the road, are a necessary ingredient in the transportation industry. They’re the conduits that often transport a lot of what people consume every day, and without them, there would be a serious disconnect between manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Plus, long road trips wouldn’t be the same without trying to get a big rig driver to honk his horn by moving your arm up and down in an imbecilic manner.
It doesn’t seem likely that semi trucks will be replaced by a different transportation method any time soon, but industry leaders are taking progressive steps toward shaping how efficient and environmentally friendly big rigs are. It’s no secret that the heavy haulers cause considerably more damage to our nation’s roads than, say, a Ford Focus does. However, new federal initiatives in renewable energy and environmental protection are spearheading a shift in the paradigm of how commodities are shipped across our nation’s infrastructure.
Trucks of the future
Thanks in part to recent regulations, trucks are undergoing a face-lift. Not only is their design changing, but their overall carbon footprint is being taken into consideration with these new designs. MSN recently reported that the current laws in Europe have been in effect for nearly two decades, and the European Union is taking measures to improve road safety and big rig efficiency. While naysayers feel the new legislation will make way for bigger trucks, officials would be remiss to neglect the lack of changes in the past 20 years.
A number of companies across the globe have released new designs for futuristic trucks that all have the same goal: to reduce their carbon footprint.
More specifically, according to Volvo’s “2013 Sustainability Report,” the company is dumping billions of dollars into research and development and focusing on three main areas, including:
- Alternative fuels
- Energy-efficient drivelines
Industry website Commercial Motor added that the Swedish-based auto manufacturer is looking to contribute to sustainable development with a new design for its 2020 concept truck. Not too far from Volvo’s headquarters, another sleek and futuristic design is in its embryonic stages. MSN added that German heavy-industries specialist MAN recently released a prototype for a new design that would probably get even Michael Bay’s attention.
Called the Concept S, MAN’s design is also aimed at reducing semi trucks’ carbon footprint, but in a slightly different way than its counterparts. The sleek design is said to decrease drag, or the aerodynamic force that causes trucks to work harder than they need to, resulting in a higher fuel intake. The back sets of wheels are covered by a canopy that extends from the body – a design that was nautically inspired from the tails of boats. The drag coefficient is reportedly predicted to drop from 0.5Cd to 0.3Cd, which is about as efficient as a modern-day compact car, MSN added. Take that, Prius drivers!
As new developments continue to unravel, the shipping industry will likely follow suit with these new, sleek and eco-friendly designs that industry leaders are investing so heavily in.
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