Back in 2010 MAN launched its Man Concept S truck model which was supposed to have revolutoionised everything about trucking. It had everything: good aerodynamic design, low fuel consumption and CO2 emission, looks, integrated oil tabk, camera rear view mirrors, style, the X factor and a very imaginative name… Eh? But the only problem is that Man didn’t take any of that forward in two years.
MAN made a radical departure from conventional truck design. Its slim shape, projecting wheel arches and soft, smooth lines gave it a sensational cD value of around 0.3. This was a value that modern passenger cars achieved! With a correspondingly modified semi-trailer, the Concept S saved 25 percent of the fuel used by a conventionally equipped 40-tonne road train – and 25 percent less fuel means 25 percent less CO2.
Efficiency potential this big can only be realised by aerodynamics similar to that of passenger cars. This makes the tractor longer and while the semi-trailer also lengthens, it becomes lower and narrower towards the rear. In order to achieve this cD value with the same cargo volume, a Concept S tractor plus semi-trailer would have to be around 20 metres long. Current laws and regulations permit tractor/semi-trailer combinations of up to 16.50 metres and articulated trains of up to 18.75 metres in length.
With its Concept S, MAN wants to make a contribution to the current discussion on the statutory length restrictions applying to commercial vehicles in Europe. If such aerodynamic road trains are actually going to take to the road, these restrictions will have to be eased. However, the Concept S isn’t higher, heavier or wider than today’s trucks, so bridges, tunnels and underpasses are not a problem at all.
The exceptionally good drag coefficient of the Concept S is achieved by applying the various laws of physics that govern aerodynamics. The truck’s frame and components such as the two fuel tanks, for example, are integrated into the external bodywork design, where they help to guide the flow of air past the truck. The external mirrors have also been highly refined, consisting of cameras built into the small, wing-like mounts for the side indicator units to monitor the traffic behind. The electrically adjustable roof spoiler that could adjust itself automatically to the semi-trailer is also one of the study’s design features.
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