PORTLAND, OR — A special heavy-truck designed to show how fuel consumption can be further reduced by aerodynamic and other energy management measures, along with the use of an intelligent powertrain components, has received the “Distinguished Achievement Award” from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Daimler Trucks North America‘s (DTNA) SuperTruck and its companion study was recognized for showing ways in which the road goods transport of the future can be made as environmentally compatible and fuel-efficient as possible, according to the company.
DTNA initiated the 5-year SuperTruck Study in 2010, and received subsidies amounting to US$40 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for this research and development.
The aim of the department was to increase the transport efficiency of trucks in U.S. Class 8 trucks by 50 percent, however, Daimler said it managed to exceed this figure significantly.
The SuperTruck improves transport efficiency by 115 percent (measured in ton-miles per gallon) compared to a 2009 baseline truck used for comparison.
The fuel consumption consumed an average of around 19 liters per 100 kilometers with a gross vehicle weight of 29.5 tons and at a speed of around 100 km/h. In this weight category regular consumption to date has been around the 39-liter mark.
The SuperTruck is equipped with the Detroit DT12 automated transmission and predictive technology which uses GPS and digital 3D maps to control the vehicle speed.
The results of the study relating to aerodynamics and the powertrain have already been incorporated into the series production models Freightliner Cascadia Evolution and Western Star 5700 XE. For example, one in four Freightliner Cascadia Evolution trucks are equipped with the automated Detroit DT12 transmission.
While these optimizations are feasible for customer use, the SuperTruck study also shows that ultralight materials are not economically viable at this time.
Although aluminum for the truck frame and carbon-fiber inside and outside the cab reduce the vehicle weight, they also incur higher material and production costs, according to Daimler.