SuperTruck II project announced by Department of Energy

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Mar 6, 2016
Freightliner’s SuperTruckFreightliner’s SuperTruck

The Department of Energy announced Tuesday its SuperTruck II initiative, which will push manufacturers to improve heavy-duty freight efficiency by more than 100 percent over the most fuel efficient tractor-trailer combo from 2009.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar announced the $80 million funding opportunity, subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer technology at the GreenTruck Summit in Indianapolis.

“Improving the efficiency of commercial trucks is critical to reducing our petroleum consumption, strengthening our clean energy economy and further reducing our contributions to climate change,” Sarkar said. “This new funding will not only accelerate innovation but also foster rapid market adoption of new energy efficient vehicle technologies.”

SuperTruck II projects will work to improve freight efficiency with an emphasis on technology cost-effectiveness and performance, according to the DOE. The department says SuperTruck II will utilize a variety of truck and trailer technology approaches to achieve performance targets, such as improvements in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance and vehicle weight.

The original SuperTruck project launched in 2010 that resulted in a Cummins-Peterbilt partnership that produced a truck that averaged a 75 percent increase in fuel economy, a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and an 86 percent gain in freight efficiency in 24-hour, head-to-head testing against a 2009 baseline truck, as well as Freightliner’s SuperTruck that boasted a 115 percent boost in vehicle freight efficiency and sustained 12.2 miles per gallon logged at 65 miles per hour on a stretch of I-35 between San Antonio and Dallas, Texas.

Sarkar also announced more than $12 million in grants for three new cost-shared projects focused on the research, development and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.