Students and faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas Tech University have developed two add-on devices that can significantly reduce pickup truck drag without limiting vehicle utility. One device is a wing structure mounted behind the top rear of the cab; the other device is a cover over the rear portion of the pickup bed. Both devices have demonstrated 5% to 6% drag reductions. Further, the rear bed cover reduces vehicle lift by 30%. Most significant, scale model tests have indicated drag reduction on the order of 17% and lift reduction of 30% when the wing and bed cover are used together.
Work to date has involved scale model tests in a low speed wind tunnel and full scale tests in the Lockheed wind tunnel. In addition, computational fluid dynamic studies have been performed to aid in designing the test program and interpreting the test results.