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Automotive Engineer - Exa's technical director, Kevin Golsch, explains how simulation is helping to improve efficiency in truck platooning

“If Tesla wants its planned electric truck to come with enough range acceptable to haulage fleets, it might need to accelerate research into platooning. Platooning is when smart trucks connect digitally to travel in close convoy, in order to improve overall fuel economy.

“The benefits of drafting in this manner have been proven. In April this year, a fleet of trucks from all of the major European manufacturers linked via wifi to take part in a Dutch-organised transcontinental drive. They cut following distances from around 48m to 15m and saved around 10% on fuel. Exa has partnered with OEMs as well to investigate the platooning effect through simulation. Two papers, one with Peterbilt and the other with Volvo have shown how multi-vehicle platooning impacts the aerodynamics and leads to fuel economy improvement.