TORONTO, Ont. — In some corners of North America, the idea of adding solar power to a truck or trailer is a no-brainer. You’d be forgiven for thinking that none of those corners are in Canada. That’s mostly true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that solar has no place here. Just that you must be careful in assessing manufacturer claims about what their solar gizmo can actually do.
Almost all of Canada gets an average of 4.2 hours of solar sunlight a day. Two areas — a small stretch of the southern prairies and a little ribbon of central B.C. — crank that number up to 4.5 hours. Compare that to as many six hours in Arizona, New Mexico, and a patch of southeast California. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it’s a big deal. A 300-watt solar setup that can help to run a tractor’s electric APU in that part of the U.S. would probably have to be a 600- or 800-watt setup for a rig running, say, a Toronto-Montreal-Halifax route.
It also means that manufacturer claims can be rather idealistic if calculations were based on experience in warm and sunny parts of our world. There’s no subterfuge involved here, but “your mileage may vary,” as they say.
The $40 million Volvo Trucks spent on its SuperTruck project was an investment in near- and distant-future truck technology that will begin paying dividends for the truck maker and its customers as early as 2017.
This is no ordinary test drive. This series of videos looks a truck developed by Cummins and Peterbilit that is more a showcase of emerging technologies.
How efficient can trucks really get? The answer may lie in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program.
NASHVILLE, TN — Engineers at Bridgestone are working to develop super-low-rolling-resistance tires for the next Cummins/Peterbilt SuperTruck project. The goal is a tire with a 30% reduction in RRC (Rolling Resistance Coefficient), which equates to a 6% improvement in fuel economy and still meets industry expectations for wear and retreadability.
We have seen the future, and it is reflected in SuperTrucks that manufacturers have developed with funding support through the U.S. Department of Energy. Volvo, for example, managed to reach 12 miles per gallon. Many related features have already become a reality. And another US $137 million has been set aside to develop new technologies through SuperTruck II.
Navistar unveiled its Catalist SuperTruck on September 28, reporting a 104% improvement in freight efficiency compared to the DOE’s control vehicle, managing a commendable 13 mpg. The truck also demonstrated an impressive 50.5% brake thermal efficiency, and Navistar says it’s on the path towards 55% BTE.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Energy is announcing up to $137 million in investments for two programs designed to develop next-generation fuel-efficiency technologies in commercial and passenger vehicles, including more funding for SuperTruck II.
The program is designed to advance environmental and innovative technologies for heavy- and medium-duty vehicles while accelerating technology advancement for passenger cars and lighter trucks.
Through another initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy an array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies. These technologies include advanced batteries and electrical drive systems to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.