The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding $80 million to four manufacturers for the second round of its SuperTruck program supporting projects to develop and demonstrate cost-effective technologies that can more than double the efficiency of Class 8 trucks.
DOE launched the SuperTruck initiative in 2010 to improve heavy-duty truck efficiency by 50 percent. Trucks are the dominant mode of freight transportation in the United States and consume about 28 billion gallons of fuel per year, accounting for about 22 percent of total transportation energy usage even though they only make up about 4 percent of vehicles on the road. The government is using the program to accelerate innovation in technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and save energy.
According to the DOE, the SuperTruck 1 program led to more than 20 fuel-saving technologies reaching the commercial market. Three of the four manufacturing teams have exceeded the target and the fourth team is on track to exceed it this year, the department said.
If all heavy-duty trucks were tricked out with these technologies, the industry could save 300 million barrels of oil per year and $30 billion annually in fuel costs, according to the DOE. An individual operator that drives 100,000 miles per year could save about $20,000 per year in fuel.
The $80 million in funding will be split evenly among:
- Cummins, Inc.—for the design and development of a more efficient engine and advanced drivetrain;
- Daimler Trucks North America (Freightliner)—for development of a tractor-trailer combination using a suite of technologies to include aerodynamics, cylinder deactivation, hybrid engines, and the electrification of accessories;
- Navistar—for the design and development of a vehicle and powertrain with electrified engine components that can enable higher engine efficiency and a reengineered cab that is significantly more aerodynamic than existing models;
- And Volvo Technology of America—for the development of an 18-wheeler with a lightweight cab, alternative engine designs, and a variety of improved system technologies.