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US National Academies release third review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership

15 September 2015

The US National Academies released a third review report of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP)—a public-private R&D initiative to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from heavy-duty engines and vehicles. The third review follows the Phase 2 review released in 2011 and Phase 1 review published in 2008.

The 21st Century Truck Partnership comprises four US federal agencies and 15 industrial partners, including major heavy-duty truck and engine makers. The 21CTP was formed in 2001 to reduce fuel usage and emissions in trucks of Class 3 through Class 8. Significant progress has been made since the previous reviews:

The report provides detailed overview and recommendations for all areas of the Partnership, including management strategy and priority setting, engine systems, hybrid vehicles, safety, and the SuperTruck program.

Engine systems comprise the engine, the aftertreatment, and the fuel as an interlinked system. The 21CTP Engine Systems program is well managed and incorporates a closely coordinated set of research activities. Federal funding for the SuperTruck projects for diesel engine systems R&D to achieve 50 and 55% BTE amounts to about $51.6 million. The key recommendations in this program area are:

The SuperTruck initiative is a major component of the 21CTP, supporting four teams that are separately developing prototype Class 8 tractor-trailer trucks that incorporate a suite of fuel-saving technologies including high efficiency engines, lightweight materials, aerodynamic improvements, and idle reduction. The four SuperTruck teams are Cummins-Peterbilt, Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar, and Volvo Technology of North America. The SuperTruck projects are supported through government-industry cost sharing contracts with the total budget for the four projects of about $284 million. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided federal funding of about $86 million to two of the teams.

The two teams that have finished their vehicle demonstrations (Cummins-Peterbilt and Daimler) have produced results substantially better than the targets called for in the SuperTruck contracts. Both teams reached the 50% engine BTE target, but they went well beyond the goals for overall freight efficiency (freight ton-miles per gallon) improvement. The remaining two teams have plans to match or exceed their program goals by the time their projects conclude in 2015 and 2016.

The main recommendations for the SuperTruck program are:

The Phase 3 Review report has been authored by a Review Committee with academia and industry participation, chaired by professor John Johnson of the Michigan Technological University.

Source: National Academies Press