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Alcoa launches next-gen wheels, aerodynamic solutions

April 13, 2022
The aerodynamic wheel covers, and what the company boasts as the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck wheel, are designed to deliver fuel savings and help fleets further improve freight efficiency.

Alcoa Wheels recently announced multiple wheel solutions that enhance a truck's aerodynamic profile and offer more fuel efficiency.

The Alcoa Wheels Aerodynamic Solutions, the steer wheel cover and the drive wheel cover plus wheel, are designed to deliver fuel savings and help fleets further improve freight efficiency. The new products add aerodynamic advantages to Alcoa wheels, provide fuel savings by way of reducing air drag, are durable, easy to install, and allow for seamless wheel inspections to obtain the most out of every mile.

“The goal for Alcoa Wheels’ Aerodynamic Solutions is more than just designing an aerodynamic cover that saves fuel,” said Nathalie Tessier, general manager, Alcoa Wheels. “It is important that we provide an innovation that offers significant fuel savings and efficiencies while also addressing and finding resolution for maintenance, installation, and performance concerns identified by fleets. We are proud of our portfolio expansion and excited about the solutions they bring to the field.”

Aerodynamic Steer Cover

This patent-pending design is engineered specifically to push air away from the tire/wheel and vehicle, limiting aerodynamic drag. Backed by rigorous testing, including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), wind tunnel, and test track analysis, the new cover enhances performance as compared to a full-wheel cover or no cover at all. The adoption of the aerodynamic steer cover is easy to implement for a quick return on investment, the company said.

  • Verified fuel savings; saves up to 0.35 gallons of fuel per 1,000 miles
  • Estimated $120 annual fuel savings per truck based on 100,000 miles per year
  • Two-year warranty
  • Compatible with all 10 by 285.75mm bolt circle wheels
  • Durable retention system
  • Available in matte black and chrome finishes

Aerodynamic Drive Cover + Wheel

An exclusive cover plus wheel system, this cover is designed for the 22.5” by 8.25” and 22.5” by 14” wheels, Nos. ULA18x, 84U61x, and 84U64x. The cover’s design powers fuel efficiency while weighing less than comparable solutions, the company said. Its innovative design features a unique approach in attachment style. The cover provides a measurement-free installation process. It is also affixed to a ring, which is secured in the flange groove of the wheel (patent-pending flange design), leaving the hub unburdened by heavy brackets and ensuring appropriate mounting consistency and for maximum results. Additionally, the cover features a 9” inspection opening, which allows for a clear view of all wheel-end components, eliminating the need for wheel cover removal during pre-trip, post-trip, road-side inspections, and tire inflation.

  • Saves up to 0.96 gallons of fuel per 1,000 miles
  • Estimated $350 annual fuel savings per truck based on 100,000 miles per year
  • Proprietary flange mounted design ensures consistent offset position, which secures expected aerodynamic benefits consistently
  • No challenging brackets attached to the wheel-end resulting in measurement-free installation
  • Available in Alcoa Wheels advanced finishes high polish and matte black

Additional benefits include:

  • Initial system installation in under four minutes (per wheel)
  • One-time ring installation
  • Camloc 1/4 turn Quick Release Fasteners lock and unlock in seconds
  • A 9” opening allows for effortless inspections and tire inflation without cover or ring removal

According to the company, Alcoa Wheels’ Aerodynamic Wheel Covers are intended to work as a complete system in order to maximize aerodynamic benefits and incur a combined savings of up to 1.31 gallons of fuel per 1,000 miles or an estimated $470 annual fuel savings per truck.

Alcoa Wheels also introduced two new wheel products—the Alcoa 22.5” by 8.25” wheel, No. ULT36x, and the lighter Alcoa 22.5” by 14” wheels, Nos. 84U61x and 84U64x.

Alcoa Wheels now boasts the world’s lightest heavy-duty truck wheel, the company said. The Alcoa ULT36x 22.5” by 8.25” wheel is three pounds lighter than its predecessor, weighing just 36 lbs., and is equipped with proprietary MagnaForce alloy. Highlights include:

  • Savings of up to 0.9 gallons of fuel per 1,000 miles when converting from steel to aluminum on all positions
  • Exceptional strength with a 7,400-lbs. load rating
  • Alcoa advanced finishes high polish and mirror polish
  • Exclusive Alcoa Dura-Bright and Dura-Black surface treatments
  • Patent-pending wheel design

The Alcoa ULT36x wheel also features vHub Bore Technology, which reduces hub-to-wheel contact area by up to 64% versus other aluminum wheels on the market, the company said, leaving less surface area for corrosion to form. In addition, it is offered with a unique valve access designed for ease of inflation and pressure checks in all positions. The system works with ATIS and Halo Tire Inflator and brings both the inner and outer dual valve into the wheel well for improved access.

Along with the new ULT36x, Alcoa Wheels is lightening loads with the lightest 22.5” by 14” truck wheel on the market. Now at just 49 lbs., three pounds lighter than its predecessor and made with proprietary MagnaForce alloy, the wheel provides a 12,800-lb. load rating. Weighing significantly less than a comparable steel wheel, fleets will save over 1,400-lbs. when converting from steel dual wheels and tires on an 18-wheeler.

Dual valve option

Alcoa Wheels’ wide base wheels are available with dual valves. Featuring a second valve stem, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensor can operate on one valve while air pressure is serviced on the other. No disruption due to equipment removal during airing up or maintenance means added peace of mind and optimum efficiency.

Alcoa Dura-Black surface treatment

The 22.5” by 14” wheel is offered with Alcoa’s proprietary Dura-Black surface treatment. Alcoa Dura-Black wheels offer the same advantages as all lightweight Alcoa forged aluminum wheels.

Manufactured using proprietary technology and production processes specifically designed for appearance and durability, Alcoa Dura-Black wheels feature premium detailing in all aspects of the wheel design and production. Beyond the matte black surface, each wheel rim flange and mounting surface appear bright, and in contrast to the matte black face of the wheel. The bright rim flange provides increased protection during tire mounting and while in use out on the road. The bright disc face mounting surface provides protection when mounting and while in use on the rig.

Alcoa Dura-Black wheels are treated on both sides for flexibility of mounting in steer or drive position, making both ordering and installation easy. Wheels are also supplied with high-quality, color-matched components including a black valve stem, and a precision, laser-etched logo.

22.5” by 14” wheels are compatible with the recently announced Alcoa aerodynamic covers, in steer and drive positions, completing the look and helping to achieve optimum performance.

“As our technology advances, our innovations continue to evolve,” Tessier said. “We strive to be the resource fleets can count on to bring the industry’s lightest and strongest aluminum wheel solutions to market, making us proud to offer these newest introductions.”