translates to a 33 percent reduction in load-specific fuel consumption (gallons per 1,000 ton-miles);

•   Achieve at least a 20 percent improvement through engine efficiency development, and achieve 50 percent brake thermal efficiency (BTE) under highway cruise conditions, which translates to a 16.7 percent reduction in fuel consumption due to engine improvements; and

•   Evaluate potential approaches to 55 percent BTE in an engine via modeling, analysis, and potentially also laboratory tests.

Deliverables include computer simulation and hardware testing, as well as full-vehicle demonstrations using realistic drive cycles. An additional deliverable called for in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is that “the systems developed shall be validated as cost effective via a business case analysis and will be reviewed for commercialization potential in later project phases as part of the phase gate review process” (DOE, 2010b, p. 7).

Each of the three teams is composed of a number of partners, including engine and truck original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, fleet owners, universities, and DOE laboratories. Although each team has the same objectives, different technologies have been selected by the different teams to meet these objectives. For example, Navistar and Daimler plan to use hybridization in their approach to meeting the 50 percent vehicle freight efficiency target, whereas Cummins does not. In addition, the Navistar and Daimler teams plan to use different types of hybrid systems. Later in this section, the teams and the technical approach used by each team are identified. In general, each team will seek to improve vehicle freight efficiency through improved powertrain efficiency, idle reduction, reduced aerodynamic drag, and reduced tire rolling resistance, among other technologies.

Background and Relationship to Previous 21st Century Truck Projects

The SuperTruck projects can be considered a logical extension of prior research and development (R&D) activities of the 21CTP, in the sense that many of the technologies that will be applied in a system-level demonstration began as R&D initiatives and component-level demonstrations. Indeed, the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Phase 1 report on the 21CTP had several recommendations for system-level demonstrations and a recommendation that industry partners assess cost objectives required to achieve commercial viability (NRC, 2008). The SuperTruck projects should result in more accurate estimates of the commercial viability of the various technologies. In Table 3-9 of the NRC (2008) Phase 1 report, it is noted that a shortcoming of component testing is that such hardware demonstrations are not subject to the realistic packaging constraints typical of commercialization. Prototype vehicle demonstrations should address this concern. Cummins intends to demonstrate 50 percent BTE under highway cruise conditions,3 as requested in the program objectives and as recommended by the NRC Phase 1 report. The other teams are expected to provide similar demonstrations. Recommendation 4-6 in the NRC Phase 1 report suggests continued development and demonstration of heavy-duty hybrid truck technology, as will be addressed by the Navistar and possibly also by the Daimler SuperTruck teams. The SuperTruck projects plan to address Recommendation 5-1 of the NRC Phase 1 report, which suggests continued evaluation of systems that can improve idle reduction, along with the study of the cost-effectiveness of such systems. The Cummins and Daimler teams plan to evaluate fuel cell APUs, and the Navistar team plans to use the hybrid system battery to provide idle reduction. With regard to lightweight materials research, the NRC Phase 1 report’s Recommendation 5-3 notes that it should be the responsibility of truck manufacturers to take the next steps of system integration, product validation, and production of a lightweight truck—an opportunity afforded by the SuperTruck program. Many of the fuel-saving technologies that will be implemented by the SuperTruck teams add significant weight to the vehicle, so all the teams have plans to implement offsetting weight reductions. In short, the SuperTruck program appears to address several of the shortcomings noted in the NRC (2008) Phase 1 report.


Project Goals

The project goals were listed by DOE (2010b) in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The overall goal for Class 8 tractor-trailers is to develop and demonstrate a 50 percent total increase in vehicle freight efficiency measured in ton-miles per gallon (equivalent to a 33 percent load-specific fuel consumption reduction [gal/1,000 ton-mile]). This will be achieved through efficiency improvement in advanced vehicle systems technologies and advanced engine technologies. The project duration will be up to 5 years. At least 20 percent of this 50 percent improvement will be through the development of a heavy-duty diesel engine capable of achieving 50 percent BTE on a dynamometer under a load representative of a level road at 65 mph (see Chapter 3 in this report). Specific technology developments mentioned in the FOA include ancillary systems, waste heat recovery, materials, and electrification in addition to advanced combustion techniques.

The project efficiency goals must be met while adhering to prevailing (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]) 2010


3 Donald Stanton, Cummins, “Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck Program,” presentation to the committee, September 8, 2010, Washington, D.C.

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