Tesco is trialling eight trailers using a British-developed steel composite that cuts the overall trailer weight by 22% compared to a standard double-decker unit.
The supermarket chain is testing the eight demonstrators as part a project funded by Innovate UK to reduce the emissions and improve the fuel consumption of trucks.
The Lightweight Aerodynamic Double-Deck Trailer Trial is run by a consortium of partners including Tata Steel, Lawrence David, SDC Trailers and Cambridge University.
The trailers, which are built on an SDC chassis with body design by Lawrence David, use a steel composite shell called Coretinium, developed by Tata Steel.
The finished trailer weighs 8.6 tonnes and can carry a larger payload than a conventional trailer, as well as being much lighter when unladen. It also has a higher proportion of recyclable content than conventional rigid-body trailers.
The Coretinium material has been used in the trailers’ side walls, bulkhead, rear doors and flooring. It sandwiches a polypropylene honeycomb core between two steel outer skin panels, and weighs less than an equivalent-sized wooden fence panel.
Edwin Richards, Technical Sales Manager for Tata Steel, said: “We have developed a product that is not only light and durable, but can be easily and safely recycled. We’re delighted to be working with a highly established trailer manufacturer, such as Lawrence David, to demonstrate how Coretinium can help the truck sector revolutionise its products to be more fuel efficient and sustainable.”
The material is produced at Tata Steel’s Shotton plant in North Wales.