Building on the notable successes of the SuperTruck initiative, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar announced SuperTruck II, an $80 million funding opportunity, subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology. Sarkar made the announcement at the GreenTruck Summit in Indianapolis, Ind.
Sarkar also announced more than $12 million in selections 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.
“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.”
The Department of Energy launched its SuperTruck initiative in 2010. Vehicles developed under SuperTruck I are Class 8 combination trucks that dramatically increase tractor-trailer fuel, engine and drivetrain efficiency through the use of advanced technologies. As the backbone of domestic freight transportation, 18-wheelers haul 70 percent of all freight tonnage.
SuperTruck II projects will research, develop and demonstrate technologies to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100 percent, relative to a manufacturer’s best-in-class 2009 truck, with an emphasis on technology cost-effectiveness and performance.
Achieving Class 8 truck efficiency increases will require an integrated systems approach to ensure that the various components of the vehicle work together. SuperTruck II projects will utilize a wide 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 recipients of the funding for plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles were announced this week. Robert Bosch, Farmington Hills, Mich., will receive $5 million to develop and demonstrate a medium-duty plug-in hybrid vehicle powertrain that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent. Cummins Corporate Research and Technology, Columbus, Ind., will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a Class 6 plug-in hybrid delivery truck that reduces fuel consumption by 50 percent. McLaren Performance Technologies, Livonia, Mich., will receive $2.6 million to develop a Class 6 delivery truck with a scalable, innovative, lightweight, low-cost and commercially-viable plug-in electric drive system that improves fuel economy by 100 percent.