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Over 80% of all communities in the United States rely on the trucking industry to deliver fuel, medicine and other consumer goods. Consultant-turned-trucking entrepreneur Andrew Smith talks about how his company, ATDynamics, is pushing the envelope on sustainability in an diesel-fuel powered industry.
Who: Before Andrew Smith started his own busines he went straight from Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college to management consulting. Even so, he always had a natural inclination towards vehicle sustainability.
“In 8th grade, I wrote about electric cars for a school essay.”
The ATDynamics technology: Founded in 2006 to help alleviate the costs associated with rising gas prices in the trucking industry, it took two and a half years prior to research the right technologies and find a viable, aerodynamic solution. While, most trucking companies had already figured out how to make the front of the truck more aerodynamic, Andrew says it isn’t enough.
“Low pressure at the back of the tractor-trailer creates as much drag as the front of the truck.”
In March, ATDynamics launched TrailerTail®, a patented hinge system that attaches to the trailer-tractor and allows wind to slide off the back of the truck. The attachment can be tucked away when the truck driver needs to operate doors and access loading bays.
ATDynamics says this improves fuel efficiency by 5.1% at 62 mph, based on findings from a over-the-road engineering test (SAEJ1321 standard) conducted at a collaborative fuel efficiency testing forum dubbed Energotest 2007.
Why ATDynamics offers attachments instead of a “hybrid” vehicle: “The first step to efficiency right now is to make things more aerodynamic and this also helps to reinvent fuel technology in the future. Given high fuel prices, the trucking industry must change.”
On starting your own company:
“When we were researching this idea, we just called ourselves a company name, and all of a sudden people gave us credibility…It’s important to have tremendous confidence, if you see a possibility as long as it’s not just a nice idea, go for it!
A lot of people thought that (ATDynamics) wouldn’t work, but customers don’t always know what they want.”
On Sustainability: “We must reinvent everything that we do now, even the way organizations, governments and companies function–everything needs to be reinvented…the greatest market opportunity facing our generation is to make things better, rather than producing things just for producing things.”
More on ATDynamics: http://www.atdynamics.com.
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Clara Kuo is a marketing communications strategist with an MBA in international marketing from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her professional interests include social media, entrepreneurship/intrapreneurship and the triple bottom line. She blogs here and on her self-named blog (www.clarakuo.com).