Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boat Tail Mod shows 15% measured improvement!

Geo Metro with Boat Tail Just a couple days back - there was a recent story: DIY ‘Boat Tail’ Gives Little Car Big Fuel Economy - By Chuck Squatriglia, Autopia, about Darin Cosgrove, an aquaintances Geo Metro Aero Mod package!

His Car - a Pontiac firefly - Like the same one I am using for my Electricfly, but newer, has had simple but practacal testing done - and recorded by Video camera and Tuft Testing to measure flow and turbulence, as well as multiple driving runs to test with mods on and off, to verify the differences, has shown at least a 15% improvement on an already very fuel efficient vehicle.

He Says - “I’ve driven with the tail on for about 300 km in total, mostly at highway speeds up to 100 km/h,” Cosgrove told us. “I didn’t notice any change in handling. The only effect on driving is I have to watch out for rubberneckers in other cars. Seriously.”

The Article mentions "The tail joins the rear wheel skirts, bellypan and other mods he’s made to boost aerodynamic efficiency. The result isn’t much to look at, but it boosted Cosgrove’s fuel efficiency by 15.1 percent at 90 km/hr (56 mph)."

These are all elements to show - that - a vehicle which usually gets below 5 Litre per 100 km, and is now getting below 4 litres per 100 km range - means that's now about one less trip needed to go to the gas station each month or so, so there is a time saving portion to the result as well as a money saving part!

Follow the story to see the Video he posted at the end.

Just think - what would you save if you cleaned up the bottom and rear of your vehicle? Also - if it's done right - you gain a large rear end cruple zone to protect your self and your fellow occupants!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to you all!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and may your feet not freeze over the winter, and your nose not be red from Alcohol while driving!

Please take a moment to Enjoy a good Christmas Song and share it with others!

Are you staying home this Christmas - or Traveling to Visit Family, Friends? If your Traveling - Safe Journey and return Home Safe, and all the better for the relationship in your life!

We are going out to a Christmas Dinner at one of our Favourite Restaurants in Richmond Hill this time! (No cooking, no dishes, no leftovers! More time to try our hand at some candy and special baking projects we want to do!)

the AeroCaps project is on a bit of a hold with the cold weather an no shop, but it is still generating interest - I can tell by the web traffic!

A Special thank you to my new visitors. Please book mark the site and stop in once a month or so - more often in warmer weather! Feel free to let me know what you would like to see more - in the comments you leave!

Merry Christmas to you all and may the winds of change treat you well in the coming new year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boat tail reduces truck fuel consumption by 7.5 percent

On November 5, 2009, Darren Quick put up this post in Gizmag, about how a Boat Tail on a truck saves fuel. Even though it was not smooth and graceful, but rather slab sided and boxy - it still turned in "fuel savings of 7.5 percent".

He goes on to say - "The fuel savings, which also means a cut in emissions, were realized by the boat tail dramatically reducing the drag caused by the lower-pressure effect that occurs in the wake of a vehicle." The key thing is the trailing edge or tail end of the vehicle, is the moree critical aspace for airflow control, and wake managment.

He Shows that these were not just one-off, random tests, but long running hard comparisons, averaged out over time - with various changes to the Boat Tail length: "The lorry was driven for a period of one year with a boat tail of varying lengths and one year without a boat tail. The improved aerodynamics were dependent on the length of the boat tail, with the optimum length found to be two meters (6.5-feet)."

In his story, he also points out the many other aero-structures that Trucks have added to them today to save on fuel: "Trucks already sport a range of modifications designed to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle, such as side panels, aerodynamic mudguards and mirrors, and roof deflectors. Of these only side panels are more effective at cutting fuel consumption (9 percent) so it’s hard to imagine we won’t be seeing trucks on the roads with a little extra junk on their trunks in the near future."

However - there are a few things I have discovered by attending a presentation at the University of Toronto, on Vehicle Aerodynamics - putting small vortex generators on those cab side panels causes the air to spin up and tighten up the air flow over the gap between cab and trailer that still exists, and cuts the interference drag at this area caused by air trying to escape from between the trailer and the cab, making a new wall of air, so the air stays attached - from cab to trailer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

VX Innovator (*Americas only offer) $295.00

Well, it seems like Alibre has stirred up some interesting Responses in the CAD World - like this one from VX -

Why pay more when you can get VX for less?
$295 Promotion ends September 30, 2009*
*The promotional offer is available only in the Americas, India and Africa.

Who can use Innovator? It is perfect all around product for getting started – serious enough for heavy duty design work, affordable enough for startup entrepreneurs and hobbyists on tight budgets.

Innovator is an excellent foundational product that contains great modeling, assembly and drafting tools for conceptual and mechanical design


For two more Days! Get it while you can!

You can check it out by going to Alibre's home page and clicking on the announcement banner at the top of the page.

  • If you were ever thinking about moving to 3D but couldn't afford it;

  • If you were ever thinking about taking Alibre Design for a test run, but didn't have $1000 to spend;

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Alibre Design Standard is usually $999. That's a $900 savings.
Now is the time to buy! No Stimulus Package can compare to this deal. It really is ridiculous!

If you just want to Try the Program for No Risk - that is - No Money - Just start Here

Still - for $99 - It's not a tough Decision!

Alibre Design is an incredibly easy-to-use and learn 3D CAD system for mechanical design, comparable to products like SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER or Inventor, but costs thousands less (Even without this Extra Special Discount!).

The software has integrated tutorials and live support, so it's easy to be productive quickly. And if you need more tutorials - check out Mine!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VW Shows 189mpg L1 diesel/electric hybrid at Frankfurt

15-9-2009: The Frankfurt Motor Show marks the debut of the Volkswagen L1 Concept – a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle constructed from aluminium and carbon fibre weighing just 380 kg and capable of returning 189 mpg on the combined cycle while emitting just 39 g/km of CO2.

The L1 can seat two occupants in tandem. They enter through a side-hinging, electrically operated canopy to maximise the aerodynamic efficiency of the L1 Concept. The result is a remarkable co-efficient of drag figure of just 0.195.

Not only is the body extremely aerodynamic but it’s also very light and strong. The safety cell, constructed from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, weighs just 124 kg. At 3,813 mm in length, the L1 Concept is comparable to the Fox yet at just 1,143 mm in height it’s as low as a Lamborghini Murcielago. Its width, at just 1,200 mm, is narrower than any conventional car on sale today

The driving environment shares more in common with an aircraft than a car. The adjustable front seat is thin and constructed from carbon while the rear passenger sits in a fixed seat built into the monocoque. Continue reading at the Original Post

This is an excellent example of combining aerodynamic efficiency with energy efficient drive trains to yield incredible total gains. In the overall plan for the 2008 Dodge Dakota, beyond the AeroCap there are plans for other more interesting aerodynamic additions, improvements, and more. There are also plans for hybridising it with an Electric torque assist system, designed specifically for front-engine, rear-drive vehicles with Drive-shafts. Some of the experience with my electricfly will serve to help me in my plans for the energy storage system of the Hybridizing elements.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

AeroCap Helps 2008 Dodge Dakota Save Gas

On the return trip from Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, September 13, 2009, with the help of the AeroCap, even as a still in work project, I was able to get a fuel consumption better than the 9.8 Litres per 100 Km Highway rating on a 380 Km leg from Windsor, Ontario, to Toronto Ontario along the Highway 401 East.

After fueling at the Sunoco at the east end of town heading out to the 401 from the Ambassador Bridge Crossing, I picked up my speed to a 100 KPH (100 kilometers or kms, per hour [about 62 mph]) target speed and set the cruise control.

In spite of the traffic slowdowns, construction issues, and a couple of stops, I was, according to the ScanGauge Trip Display, averaging 9.2 LHK (Litres/100 Km), that's about 93.4% of the rated fuel consumption, or about 6.5% better than the pickup is rated for on the Highway!

All the time in the drive, the Trucks Temperature gauge is showing below the Halfway mark, or - as I understand this - it means the truck is running cooler than normal, so it would seem that it is getting too much cooling air. This means - cooling drag can still be reduced, too. Since the grill is part of the hood, clocking airflow there could prove interesting, and while I have some ideas, none have appeared as most practical to implement yet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

AeroCap Passes Border Inspection!

The Most interesting thing happened on my way to Detroit to attend an International Training event for a new Business I am beginning in Telecommunications.

Maybe it was the Date, September 11th, that had the Customs and Border Guards on the Detroit side of the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel entrance on edge. Maybe it was the unusual look of the 'Incongnito' AeroCap Project on my 2008 Dodge Dakota Pickup that caused the Border Guard to be a bit suspicious!

In any event of crossing the Border from Ontario, Canada, into the U.S.A. previously - the Border Guards had asked me to open the Tailgate so they could inspect inside, but this time I was asked to turn off my truck and hand the keys over to the Customs Officer, and stay in the vehicle while he inspected the contents of the pickup box under the AeroCap.

After Opening the Tailgate, he banged and thumped the AeroCap. I guess he wanted to see if it would reveal or release some illicit cargo!

After that, he closed the tailgate of the pickup and returned the keys to me, stepped inside his booth, made some notes in his system, and returned our documents (Passports - yes even Canadians need them now to enter the States, as well as returning Americans), and sent us on out way.

AeroCap at Customs - Passed (Again!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aerodynamics Gets Noticed - Again!

August 26th, 2009: Next-gen trailer aerodynamics project gets $500,000!

New York State has made available nearly $500,000 to ATDynamics to continue development of next-generation trailer aerodynamics, the company has announced.

The Article - In Fleet Owner - goes on to say the the money was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority - NYSERDA - which is a 50% Cost Share Match with ATDynamics.

Also on August 26th, 2009, was announced by cnet News - Green Tech: Hummer gets better than 100 mpg?
"The plug-in hybrid Hummer H3E by Raser Technologies actually gets better mileage than originally estimated."

"It plans to reduce the size of the battery pack so that the SUV gets the original target of all-electricity for the first 40 miles. By doing that, the company can reduce vehicle weight and make the SUV available to customers for a cheaper price, according to Raser."

On August 29, 2009, Autospies got a report out about:
The BMW That Will Change The Way Alt. Energy Vehicles Are Perceived: Vision EfficientDynamics

Down in the article - not quite 1/3rd the way down - comes the Headline of reference:
Aerodynamic qualities reflecting BMW’s Motorsport experience.
"BMW Vision EfficientDynamics also takes a new approach in its design and streamlining, the body and the interior clearly expressing the unique combination of supreme efficiency and the sporting performance of the brand. Following BMW’s design language, this concept car visualizes both highly efficient aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight construction."

All of the above is to say that Vehicle Aerodynamics are becoming more focused, and that the AeroCap Project is travelling along a path that is becoming more considered, and promoted by the Major Auto makers. Even General Motors admitted that they needed to clean up the aerodynamics of the Volt Prototype to get the desired 40 Miles per Charge thwy wanted!

Gas Mileage Update

Gas Mileage Figures from July 16th, 2009 to August 5th, 2009 on The Dodge Dakota with Aerocap (Mostly) on and one trip with it off.

The image shows the Average Fuel Efficency per Tank of Gas at refueling time. This includes any and all construction events over a course of 300 - over 600 Kms per tank, and of course hills, dips, trucks (Semi's), and other traffic issues. Also things like - stops for eating, detouring to a Berry Farm for Blueberries, and overnight sleeps, etc.

It should also be noted that the box was pretty filled with Camping Gear - Air Bed, Tent, Extra Camping Gear, Clothing, Booster Battery, Suitcases, etc.Gas Mileage performance Chart for Summer Trip

The Chart shows that the fuel efficiency values varied more with the short Trip up to the Barrie Area with the Cap Off, than they did on the whole trip through Windsor, Detroit, on to Chicago, and up to Oshkosh with a return the same way.

The Best Mileage was from the Pilot Travel Center in Michigan, to Toronto and then up the 404 to Richmond Hill, Ontario at 9.52 Litres per 100 Kms (LHK)!

The Figures for the leg from Benton Harbour to Oshkosh would likely have been lower as an all Highway travel figure, but it included about 4 days of camping, and driving back and forth about 10 minutes to the Travel Plaza for Breakfast, and again for Supper each day. Since the city performance is more weight related than aerodynamics, this skewed the figures lower than they would have been if I filled up at the travel plaza on arriving in Oshkosh on the 28th of July. Still they managed to be at 10.96 LHK for that run.

The Generally worst leg, for some reason, was from Windsor Sunoco, trough Detroit (Parked at the Wayne County Airport for a week) and on to Benton Harbour, Michigan, at 12.29 LHK! Whereas, the leg from the Barrie Area on the weekend of the 18th of July, to Toronto was 10.70 LHK, and the leg from Oshkosh back to the Pilot Travel Center, in Battle Creek, Michigan got 10.74 LHK.

The Second Best Efficiency was from Toronto to Windsor with 10.35 LHK as the result.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

AeroCap Travels to Oshkosh, Wisconsin (Incognito) & Gets over 30 Mpg!

AeroCap Traveling 'Incognito' under a Green Tarp, Arrives at OshkoshBecause of the Delays in working on the Extruded Polystyrene foam, the sun bakes it and it starts to powder - so I covered it so as to last the time in the sun and make the trip to Oshkosh Wisonsin - about 1,000+ kms each way. I used a Green Tarp, and we simply taped it over the pink foam with Packing Tape.!

7.2 Litres per 100 Km - In a Dodge Dakota!
Even with the Green Tarp Over the AeroCap, it still looks pretty good, and delivers decent aerodynamics


Preliminary figures suggest good performance even with the un-even covering of the tarp over the foam! This first image of the Scangauge - taken while Driving shows 85 kph (about 52 mph) with the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor, as I understand it) showing just 17 - or very light on the throttle, delivering 7.2 Litres per 100 Kms fuel efficiency! That is like a little to mid-sized car - driven well! This is about 31.8 - 32 Mpg!

Just 9.0 Litres of Fuel per 100 KmsHere is a shot that shows just 9.0 Litres per 100 Km, while driving at 95 Kph, (about 57 Mph), with the TP"S - Throttle Position Sensor showing a reading of just 19 - or very light on the Throttle - fuel burn of just 8.6 Litres per Hour! (Now if the Ultralights could get that...!) This is 26.1 Mpg! That's as good as a Chevy Malibu Hybrid! (See the link - bottom of the article!)

When I can I will put together a Video of the ScanGuage display as I drive and post it. I need to make up some kind of steady hand bracket to hold the camera at the right place so I can just set it on record and drive. (Or - maybe convince somone to sit in the little jumps seats in the back and hold down a tripod with the camera on it!)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fuel Efficiency Numbers for 2,600 Km Trip

Starting my Trip with a full Tank, Filled up at the local Shell Station - Dufferin & Wilson, at an Odometer reading of 11,276 Kms, I headed out at 13:02 - just after 1 PM on the 25th of June, 2009, and my next stop for fuel was at BFS Foods, in Morgantown WV - 387 miles or 619 Kms at 22:10 (10:10 PM). That leg got me 9.62 LHK (Litres per 100 Kilometers), or 24.56 mpg.

The Next leg took me to Kangaroo Express in Wytheville, VA - 260 miles or 416 Kms at 4:17 AM, for 10.7 LHK, or 22.08 mpg. I made it into Charlotte, NC at about 9:30 AM for another 197 Kms, and drove around town over the course of the Weekend on this tank some additional 230 Kms.

June 29, 2009 - Monday, I left by way of Concord, NC and filled up there at Pantry Gas Station at 12:40 PM, with a trip distance into Charlotte and around town of 288.4 miles or 461 kms, and a fuel efficency of 13 LHK, or 22.18 mpg.

Nothbound I did my first stop at WilcoHess in Wytheville, VA at 16:07 (4:07 PM) for a trip of 145.6 miles or 232.9 Kms, and got 10.76 LHK or 21.96 mpg.

The next stop was at Country Fair Gas Station in Grove City, PA at 23:37 (11:37 PM) for 405 miles or 648 kms, and it got 10.15 LHK or 23.27 mpg. My last US fuel stop, at the Angola Service Center at 5:16 AM, was another 138.3 miles or 221.3 Kms, and got 9.4 LHK or 25.14 Mpg.

I filled up back home with a trip distance of 210.8 Kms, or 131.75 miles, and a short trip of local driving, to end up with an Odometer of 14,087 and a fuel efficiency of 9.97 LHK or 23.7 Mpg.

For Reference - the Dodge Dakota has a Canadian Government Rating of
9.8 LHK Highway!

This Means that over the course of this 2,600 Km Trip, I never exceeded the rating by more than 1 litre per 100 Kms, and in a couple instances bested it by 0.2 - 0.4 Litres per 100 Km!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

AeroCap enjoys a trip of over 2,600 Kms!

Wow! Having had the AeroCap test piece on the truck for a Drive from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, all the way to Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. and back was an interesting experience.

If you saw the truck in traffic along the way - I'd be happy to see some of your comments posted on this blog! (I will get a few pics posted on the web page shortly!)

First - Just before I left home on Thursday, June 25, 2009, I had a Vinyl sign made for the tailgate of the truck and put the new domain name on it - I chose - - in white letters for a high contrast with the blue truck colors. I set that home page up so that it redirects to this blog for now - as I have been busy and not able to put some core content in it yet.

My wife & I drove this route: Highway 401 West from Dufferin Street, to Highway 427 South to the QEW, and through to Buffalo, N.Y., and West on I-90 to Erie, P.A. Where we headed south on I-79 past Pittsburgh, P.A. To Morgantown, and then took US-19 to Beckly and picked up I-64S/I-77S there. We continued on I-77S until Charlotte, and picked up I-85N toward Greensboro N.C. until our exit for our Hotel, about five minutes up the road! About 1,230 Kms, (according to Google Maps) but it seemed a lot longer!!

Around Charlotte, we drove about 230 Kms over the weekend, and took I-85 up to Concord on Monday to see some facilities we were interested in, before leaving that area after lunch.

We drove up I-85 a bit more and then headed up the 601 until about I-40 and then zipped back over to I-77 for the drive back north. This time - we skipped the detour on US-19 and drove through Charleston back to I-79! Nice City!

We got back home Yesterday - June 30th, Just before 8 AM! I had to take an emergency sleep at the Angola N.Y. Service Center on I-90!

I will report on the Fuel consumption numbers in a later post. As many people who live along this route know - there are some areas with a lot of hills, mountains, and twisty roads, and some construction along the way too. Some of these things take a hit on best fuel efficiency results, but I tried to keep that under control.

As I said above, If you have seen a Blue Dodge Dakota Truck with a Pink Canopy on it, and the white lettered website - on the tailgate, and been redirected here when you checked out that web site - I would be happy to have your comments here!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Domains names finally!

Well, I finally added two domain names to enhance to profile of the Aerocaps Idea! Today I registered them - and - which at the moment will just refresh in 5 seconds and re-direct to this blog, until I get some specifics up there.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

AeroCap In Traffic Fuel Efficiency Update

Hi, Well - today was a special day - I got a phone call from a friend to go see the eVaro, in Brampton! What's the eVaro you say? Check it out today! eVaro

Along with that - I of course have a previous model of the ScanGage installed in the 2008 Dodge Dakota, and at the last fill - the recorded scan gage distance was barely a few tenths of a km different than the trip meter since the last fill! I used it to moderate and monitor my lead foot management response, and to of course track my trip fuel economy.

Today - I ended up back home with 73.4 km on the current fill, and a scangage reading of 10.0 l/100km for the tank so far. I must note - I filled the truck up Thursday night, and for the short drive home - it got an average of 14.7 l/100km, so with today's driving, in traffic, I was able to bring down the total run average to 10.0 l/100 km, but in steady state cruising with a throttle TPS reading of 18 - 20, the current Trip reading was delivering a primarily highway trip performance of 9.8 l/100 km!! That is actual Canadian Fuel Rating figure for the truck in it's Highway test - 9.8 l/100 Km! There were also regular periods of 6.5 - 8.0 l/100 readings displayed and some lower - in traffic!

This is an improvement over the last report of 10.1 Litres/100km, but it might be noted - I was not using cruise control due to heavier travid, a different route - Highway 401 from Dufferin west to Highway 410 North to Bovaird, with street traffic for about 5 more kms, each way, and into a approaching storm. so - was my 'wind speed' hihger or lower than it might have been on cruise control at 110 kmh? It's anyones guess, but - I will also say - that there were some peaks of fuel consumption in the 40 - 70 l/100 km range when starting out at lights, ramps, etc.

In any case - 9.8 - 10.0 l/100 km is still impressive in the Dodge Dakota at 100 kmh! The average speed overall on the curent tank of fuel has been 74 kmh, with street, and highway combined from fill-up to home today.

What does all this mean? Well - more suggestion that the AeroCap is doing it's job to smooth airflow, reduce drag, reduce cab noise levels, etc.!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Finally - Sharp Corners Rounded!

AeroCap Corners: Before - sharp, after - round
Well, Yesterday, I finally got some time and worked on the AeroCap again - after it just riding around getting bored on the back of the truck all winter!

Among other things, a few weekends back, we got hit with some good sized hail that was about a nickel or so size around, and it really took a beating on the Foam of the Cap, and the sun, winter, and weather had taken it's toll on it as well, creating a dusty, dead skin I needed to run the shaper or 'cheese grater' tool over and clean it all up. After that I worked on shaping up the sides a bit to even out the bit of an offset in the fit, and take out some of the side curve so it matched the cab's curves or lack thereof, better.

Then, with the foam all cleaned up, I decided to start the rounding of the arch curved sides along the left and right top side edge, and also the edge above the tail gate, and bring them together, rounding it all out at the rear corners!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The AeroCap Dakota Does it's First (2) Tow(s)

The Towing Layout - Taken After the show - returning homeThursday, April 23, 2009, I had my first test of towing with the AeroCap on, towing my electricfly to The Great Vehicle Adventure Show and then again back home after the show on Saturday, April 25th!

The Ride was pretty decent, even though I could not see the little guy - I could feel him back there on every bump and wiggle through the hitch and draw bar to the truck!

We took the little car over to the Toronto Congress Centre, and dropped it off Thursday night, came over after work on Friday to load it into the North building, and were back Saturday morning with our Cards, Flyer's, and Handouts to show the car.

After the show - I drove the electricfly out and onto a spot in the front of the building, so I could line the truck up in front of it, and hook up. Once we got that done (in the Rain or thunderstorm we had still going on), then we boogied off to home, and dropped the car off on a side street - where we took the accompanying photos.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AeroCap - Survives it's first winter

Well, the AeroCap has remained clamped on the truck through the winter, never got crushed by ice or snow, but has become a bit powdery due to, I guess, sun baking, as the bare Pink Styrofoam is exposed still while I wait to get some time to finish the smoothing and sanding of it, so that I can begin to give it a final finished shape and get it fibre glassed!

It continues to make heads turn in traffic, and keep the cab of the truck much quieter than without it. If anyone has a Sound or Db Meter they could lend for some tests to log the difference of Cap On versus Cap Off, I would be glad to hear about it!