The concept “SuperTruck” tractor-trailer developed by Cummins and Peterbilt Motors Company achieved 10.7 miles-per-gallon last month under real world driving conditions.
Developing a truck that could meet or exceed 10 mpg when fully loaded was considered unlikely if not impossible just a few years ago, with most trucks averaging between 5.5 and 6.5 mpg. However, with advances in engines, aerodynamics and more, SuperTruck has proven that 10 mpg is attainable.
The Cummins-Peterbilt tractor-trailer was on display today for President Barack Obama’s announcement on the next phase of national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
The president directed federal agencies to develop new regulations by March, 2016, during an event at the Safeway supermarket distribution center in suburban Washington, D.C. The first phase of regulations went into effect in 2014.
“We are honored that the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck was chosen to be on display at President Obama’s announcement,” said Wayne Eckerle, Cummins Vice President, Research and Technology. “The SuperTruck clearly demonstrates the technologies that can deliver significant fuel efficiency improvements over the next decade and beyond as we continue to develop for cost and performance attributes that will make them strong commercial successes.”
Landon Sproull, Peterbilt Chief Engineer, agreed.
“The work we’re doing on SuperTruck is very much in keeping with Peterbilt’s global reputation for industry-leading design, innovative engineering and fuel-efficient solutions,” he said. “I think it’s been a terrific opportunity for us to look into the future and demonstrate what’s possible.”
The Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck is part of a program initiated by the Department of Energy (DOE) to improve long-haul Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency. The program focuses on advanced and highly efficient engine systems and vehicle technologies that meet prevailing emissions and Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle safety and regulatory requirements.
In addition to the benefits of reduced fuel consumption, the improvements in engine and vehicle system efficiency will deliver a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Cummins has worked closely with Peterbilt, a division of PACCAR, on the SuperTruck project. The concept truck uses the Peterbilt® Model 579 with aerodynamic innovations throughout. The engine, based on Cummins’ ISX15, converts exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft and has electronic control software that uses route information to optimize fuel use.
Eaton Corp.,® also part of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck project team, is developing a next-generation automated transmission that improves fuel efficiency in heavy-duty trucks. Eaton’s contribution includes the design, development and prototyping of an advanced transmission that facilitates reduced engine-operating speeds. Cummins and Eaton jointly designed shift schedules and other features to yield further improved fuel efficiency.
The latest version of the SuperTruck is also lighter throughout, enabling the concept tractor-trailer to carry more freight.
This demonstration of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck has exceeded DOE goals for freight efficiency – a key trucking metric based on payload weight and fuel efficiency expressed in ton-miles per gallon. The SuperTruck achieved an 86 percent improvement in freight efficiency and a 75 percent fuel economy improvement over a 24-hour test cycle in December 2013.
The program goal was a 68 percent freight-efficiency increase over a 2009 vintage baseline vehicle of the same weight traveling along the same route.
The SuperTruck achieved 10.7 miles-per-gallon during testing last month between Denton and Vernon, Texas, along U.S. Route 287. The route was the same one used two years ago when the first version of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck averaged just under 10-miles per gallon.
The testing in both instances was conducted on a round-trip basis to negate any wind advantage that might have been gained by traveling one way and each tractor-trailer had a combined gross weight of 65,000 pounds running at 64 miles-per-hour. A longer 500-mile route between Denton and Memphis, Texas, was used to demonstrate the vehicles fuel efficiency improvement over a 24-hour test cycle.
The increase in fuel economy for the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck would save about $27,000 annually per truck based on today’s diesel fuel prices for a long-haul truck traveling 120,000 miles (193,121 kilometers) per year. It would also translate into a more than 43 percent reduction in annual GHG emissions per truck. The potential savings in fuel and GHGs are enormous, given that there are about 2 million registered tractor-trailers on U.S. roads today, according to the American Trucking Associations.
Cummins, Peterbilt and their program partners will have invested $38.8 million in private funds over the four-year life of their SuperTruck program when it draws to a close later this year. The project received critical support in matching grants from the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program.