Transport of goods such as groceries between distribution centres is frequently done using 'double-decker' trucks. However vehicle legislation limits the weight of these vehicles. For some operations this means that the vehicles cannot be filled to capacity. By reducing the unladen weight of the vehicles, more goods can be fitted into the truck while still keeping below the required laden vehicle weight. This in turn reduces the number of overall journeys required. When combined with an optimised body shape, designed to minimise aerodynamic drag, a target reduction of 15% or more in CO2 emissions and corresponding fuel costs will be achieved. The cost savings will benefit the consumer via reduced costs of goods.
Lightweighting measures aim to achieve this reduction in weight by using new materials and novel designs in various areas of the vehicle structure. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of these savings, by building demonstrator trucks with these features and running them on a commercial distribution route for a year. Data collected from this trial will allow fuel savings and the commercial benefit to be quantified, opening up the way for a greater take-up of such trucks and a consequent reduction in both fuel used and C02 emissions.
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