Glass is not the designer’s only option to glaze an opening. Lightweight materials may find exciting opportunities in the automotive industry as a means of increasing fuel efficiency. With 75% of fuel consumption relating directly to vehicle weight, potential weight reductions that result in improved price-performance ratio promote use of lightweight materials. One of the key plastics used in automotive sector is polycarbonate (PC). PC has dominated the market for vehicle headlamp covers for 15 years, and now it challenges glass in windows. Plastics are lightweight materials ideal to improve fuel efficiency and design flexibility without compromising on performance or safety.
When an oil company such as Shell invests into the truck of the future to achieve record setting fuel economy people will notice.
The new comes from the Connecticut based AirFlow Truck Co. via our columnist Lyn Zbinden, who has recently joined the design team to contribute to the further, dramatic, improvement of its aerodynamic efficiency.
According to Mr. Zbinden: «This 2015 truck I am designing is for Shell in the U.K. and it will get 20 miles per gallon. The 2012 prototype now on regular service gets 14 already. Most Class 8 trucks get only 10 MPG. This is huge money to these companies, and achieved totally through proper aerodynamic design.