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Prime Mover Magazine

Aerodynamic wheel covers

A US inventor is attracting attention around the world with his simple yet effective fuel saving aerodynamic device. The Deflecktor was invented by Jon Fleck and after a prolonged trial with one of the largest transport companies in the US, Schneider National, the devices are now fitted to 1500 prime movers in the fleet.

The simple device is simply an 800g fabric and wire wheel cover that is placed on the drive wheels of the prime mover and is similar to a hubcap. Practical trials have demonstrated a saving of 1 to 2% in terms of fuel consumption in the Schneider fleet.

Mr Fleck has been experimenting with wheel covers for 20 years but had struggled to reduce the weight of the wheel covers. Fuel efficiency gains from improved aerodynamics were lost due to increased prime mover mass.

The invention has been recognised in the UK and is on the shortlist to win the Financial Times Climate Change Challenge where Fleck is up against other inventors who have come up with bright ideas to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Fleck is quoted in the Financial Times as gaining his inspiration for this successful design when he saw a pop-up laundry basket at a trade fair in Germany. He realised he could build the cover using fabric and wire. “That was the light bulb moment,” he told the Financial Times.

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