The DragShield is an aerodynamic device that is placed behind the pickup truck cab, where air flows over the cab and into the truck bed. The DragShield has been proven by both analysis and testing to reduce the fuel consumption of a pickup truck. It works by reducing the drag on the vehicle, thereby making the engine work less hard and consume fuel at a lower rate.
The idea is both novel and effective for reducing drag on pickup trucks and increasing their fuel economy. Pickup trucks are the most commonly driven vehicles in the United States, almost 20% of the 204 million personal cars on the road are pickup trucks, so the potential impact of this device is very substantial. There are few drag reduction devices on the market for pickup trucks and the ones that are currently available are expensive and high maintenance, which is prohibitive to the typical pickup truck driver. This technology is low cost because of its simple construction. It is also practical, because it can be installed or uninstalled in a matter of minutes with only a standard screwdriver.
The DragShield design has been validated in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation software as well as in real-life road testing with multiple prototypes. The CFD results show a significant drag reduction with the DragShield installed and data from the road testing reveals that the DragShield increases gas mileage by 14%, yielding an extra 2-3 miles per gallon. The road testing was performed with the DragShield installed on a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500. Mileage gallon data was obtained during multiple long distance road trips, totaling 6,300 highway miles over a 6 year period.
Producing the DragShield will be low cost and requires little capital investment. The DragShield will be thermo-formed out of ABS plastics and trimmed to fit the exact specifications of the pickup truck make and model. The total time necessary to complete a final product is 45 minutes, including packaging for shipment. The estimated production cost, including materials and labor, is extremely low. These numbers are very promising, as they assume that the job is done by hand and by one person. When economy of scale is reached, this process will become faster, cheaper and more efficient.
Considering the desirable performance, low cost of production and user friendliness, the outcome is an affordable, easily installed aftermarket pickup truck product. The DragShield has the ability to change the future by saving the average pickup truck driver over $200 per year on fuel expenses. Multiply these savings by the number of pickup trucks on the road and the impact of the DragShield has the potential to be very significant. More efficient fuel consumption also means fewer emissions, which further helps to create a happier and healthier future.