The SuperTruck, an initiative by the Department of Energy and the Vehicles Technologies Office, is a demonstration vehicle for developing more energy and fuel efficient tractor-trailer trucks. SuperTruck also supports the Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative – a broad effort to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and competitiveness. Companies will integrate these technologies into trucks built right here in the U.S. When Cummins and Peterbilt adopt these fuel-saving technologies in their product lines, they will be manufacturing them in their facilities in Indiana, New York, and Texas.
Since 2010, the truck has demonstrated a 20 percent increase in engine efficiency and a 70 percent increase in freight efficiency, reaching over 10 miles per gallon under real world driving conditions on a Class 8 tractor-trailer. In comparison, an average Class 8 truck typically gets 5.8 miles to the gallon. The SuperTruck also served as a backdrop to President Obama’s announcement of new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
Improving the efficiency of long-haul tractor-trailers is one of the many ways that the United States can reduce the amount of petroleum we use and the carbon pollution we produce. Commercial trucks, which include Class 8 vehicles, haul as much as 80 percent of the goods transported in the country. Although they only make up 4 percent of vehicles on the road, they use about 20 percent of the fuel consumed. Based on the current price of diesel, these technologies should save truck operators more than $20,000 per year on fuel costs. In addition to Cummins, there are three other companies that have been working with the Energy Department since 2009 to develop SuperTrucks. Each company has its own unique approach, but at least 20 percent of the efficiency improvements will come from advances in the trucks’ internal combustion engines. Companies may also improve the vehicles’ aerodynamics, reduce their weight, reduce rolling resistance with high-efficiency tires, and install equipment that limits idle time. SuperTrucks are well-poised to have significant improvements on our country’s economic, environmental, and energy sustainability.