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Or put in other terms, the drag coefficient on an LCV is only marginally more than half of the sum of the drag on the two vehicles it replaces when wind angles are at zero degrees.

As vehicle length increases, the percentage contribution to overall drag from friction drag rises slightly since there is so much more planar surface aligned with the wind, yet the blunt front face of the vehicle remains unchanged.

The full report, (PDF, 2.06 MB), is available as a PDF. This document contains confidential information that is proprietary to NRC’s Centre for Surface Transportation Technology.

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Ideally, a study could be conducted whereby a variety of gap fillers, side skirts and boat tails are sequentially added to the LCV in order to determine if the effects of these devices on LCVs is similar to their effect on conventional vehicles.

Canadian Motor Vehicule Safety Standards (CMVSS) compliant mirrors are responsible for approximately 2% of the overall drag on a conventional tractor and trailer.

For highway tractor-trailers and intercity buses, this results in about a 10% increase in fuel consumption from drag when compared to the reference temperature, further emphasizing the importance of aerodynamic drag reduction strategies for the Canadian climate.

The results of one study indicated that an LCV’s drag coefficient while pulling two trailers can be as little as 0.05 higher than a conventional vehicle pulling one trailer at 0 deg wind yaw angle.

This number increases to 0.13 higher at a yaw angle of 5 degrees.

Therefore, adding a second trailer to form an LCV, and thus doubling the freight capacity, results in a very modest increase in drag coefficient of approximately 10% at zero yaw angles and 22% at five degree yaw angles when compared to the single trailer vehicle.

A study concluded that if a tractor’s two side mirrors were removed, the tractor would burn 938 fewer litres of fuel annually based on current fleet wide average fuel consumption values.

Some manufacturers are currently designing prototype vehicles that use rear facing cameras and in-cab video screens that replace the side view mirrors.

However, these systems cannot be used independently without mirrors, under the current CMVSS regulations.

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