BETTERFLOW makes logistics more aerodynamic, profitable and environmentally friendly –
With support from PEM MOTION
Since 2012, the BETTERFLOW company has been working on the aerodynamics of trucks. It has taken more than eight years to achieve perfection. Now the automatic rear wing system with further add-ons is going into series production. Just in time, the goal of reducing German greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2020 compared to 1990 has failed spectacularly. In the transport sector there has even been a slight increase in greenhouse gases. In addition, the EU has decided that CO2 emissions from new trucks and buses must be reduced by 15% by 2025 and by 30% by 2030 – otherwise sanctions will be imposed.
BETTERFLOW starts where the savings potential is greatest, because a large part of the fuel consumption of a trailer is caused by air resistance. The large box-like body and the high, wide front of the semitrailer offer the air an enormous surface to attack. A streamlined design of the semitrailer truck counteracts this effect.
Aeropack improves the cW-Value by 20%
The BETTERFLOW rear wing RearFLOW is the central element of aerodynamic optimization. The automatic rear wing system opens automatically from a speed of about 60 kilometers per hour. The drag coefficient (cW value) is reduced by almost 9%; additional aero components improve this effect. LowFLOW, for example, is a membrane stretched tightly from front to back under the trailer. It improves air resistance by smoothing the airflow underneath the trailer. HighFLOW is a roof spoiler mounted on the front edge of the trailer above the refrigeration machine. It optimizes the transition from the truck roof to the trailer. The aero package is able to improve the cW value by about 20%.
To produce the aero elements, BETTERFLOW needed a competent partner who could optimize the components in terms of production costs and find ways to produce them in the appropriate start-up quantities. In each case the core competencies of PEM Motion.
Consideration of production planning and scalability
“Above all, production planning tailored to the customer’s business circumstances and needs is important to us: good scalability with an affordable investment is essential for start-ups in ramp-up production”,
declares Carl Richter
Director Digital Drive at PEM Motion.
In a first step, PEM Motion has further developed the patented rear wing system. “The rear wings cover half of the savings that can be achieved with aero packages from today’s perspective,” explains Dirk Sieprath of BETTERFLOW. This was followed by the HighFLOW and LowFLOW components, with which BETTERFLOW is improving aerodynamics even further.
Enno Lohse, Senior Technology Expert in the field of prototyping at PEM Motion, explains: “The idea came from BETTERFLOW, the design from us”. As an important development partner of BETTERFLOW, PEM Motion implements the ideas of the BETTERFLOW founders Dr. Rainer Buffo and Ingo Martin and contributes with its experience in design and access to the necessary tools.
Extensive test phase running
After PEM Motion has constructed the first prototypes, the market entry phase for BETTERFLOW is now beginning. This includes an extensive test phase. After all, how much an articulated truck can save depends on many factors: the tractor unit, wind and weather, the load and driving style, the route and, above all, the actual speed.
BETTERFLOW is therefore conducting a large-scale pilot test from November 2019. In four months, about 50 vehicles will each drive 10 to 15 thousand kilometers per month throughout Europe – a total of two to three million test kilometers. The pilot partners are innovative freight forwarders from various countries. They are testing the BETTERFLOW Aeropackage in everyday life.
Dr. Rainer Buffo explains:
„We can only sell our customers a system that is absolutely suitable for everyday use. With the pilot test, we can exclude the possibility that it might fail later in the series.“
“On average, you save 1.5 liters per 100 kilometers,” Ingo Martin promises in advance. After all, there have already been wind tunnel tests, computer simulations and computational forecasts that confirm the savings potential of BETTERFLOW’s aerodynamic innovations. In the summer of 2018, a series of tests carried out with IAV (Ingenieurgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr) and the testing company DEKRA determined diesel savings of 1.7 liters per 100 kilometers.
Over its entire service life, the aero package thus saves between 10,000 and 20,000 liters of diesel, which corresponds to more than 50 tons of CO2. These are remarkable figures when you consider that not only the price of diesel will rise in the coming years, but also that CO2 emissions will be increasingly taxed soon.
Commercial vehicle mobility of the future
The BETTTERFLOW engineers have long been planning the next steps and are now presenting the 2025 version of the aerodynamic truck optimization. Add-on parts that reduce air resistance will then exist in all areas of the vehicle combination and are increasingly becoming integral components. Even further into the future is the 2032 model; it takes electrification, automation and digitalization of logistics into account.
PEM Motion and BETTTERFLOW are thus working together on the commercial vehicle mobility of the future, with further ideas for cooperation on the truck of the future already in the pipeline. “Data-based business models and IOT applications could be intelligent interfaces,” says Sieprath, referring to UZE Mobility, a PEM Motion spin-off. But first of all, PEM Motion is looking forward to seeing many trucks with wings driving on the highways soon.