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US DOE announces $80 million SuperTruck II initiative

8 March 2016

Building on the successes of the SuperTruck initiative, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced SuperTruck II, an $80 million funding opportunity (subject to congressional appropriations) for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology.

The DOE launched its SuperTruck initiative in 2010. Vehicles developed under SuperTruck I are Class 8 combination trucks, commonly known as 18-wheelers, that increase tractor-trailer fuel, engine and drivetrain efficiency through the use of advanced technologies. More particulars on the SuperTruck program can be found in the program review conducted by the US National Academies.

SuperTruck II projects will research, develop and demonstrate technologies to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100%, relative to a manufacturer’s best-in-class 2009 truck, with an emphasis on technology cost-effectiveness and performance.

As the 2009 baseline efficiency was 99 ton-miles per gallon, the SuperTruck II project’s freight efficiency target is 198 ton-miles per gallon. During the SuperTruck I program, one truck (Cummins-Peterbilt) demonstrated a freight efficiency of 175 ton-miles per gallon.

Achieving Class 8 truck efficiency increases will require an integrated systems approach. SuperTruck II projects will utilize a variety of truck and trailer technology approaches, such as improvements in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and vehicle weight—said the DOE. The DOE announcement, however, makes no reference to the ultra low NOx emission targets from heavy-duty engines that have been pursued by the California Air Resources Board.

The DOE also announced $12 million in selections for three projects focused on the research, development and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The plug-in electric powertrain projects target a fuel economy improvement of 50%-100% in commercial Class 6 delivery trucks. The recipients of the awards are Robert Bosch LLC ($5 million), Cummins Corporate Research and Technology ($4.5 million) and McLaren Performance Technologies ($2.6 million).

Source: US DOE