This is the third SuperTruck project for Volvo Trucks North America. Its initial SuperTruck, shown, achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88% and a 70% improvement in fuel economy (12-13 mpg). - Photo: Volvo Trucks North America

This is the third SuperTruck project for Volvo Trucks North America. Its initial SuperTruck, shown, achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88% and a 70% improvement in fuel economy (12-13 mpg).

Photo: Volvo Trucks North America

The U.S. Department of Energy announced it will spend $127 million over the next five years to help advance commercial truck electrification technology through its SuperTruck 3 program.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy initially launched the SuperTruck initiative in 2009 to improve heavy-duty truck freight efficiency by 50% in the demonstration trucks from program participants. The resulting tractor-trailers achieved 12 and 13 mpg. Many of the technologies developed during those projects can now be found on production trucks.

The second iteration, SuperTruck 2, sought to double fuel efficiency for 18-wheeler trucks. Those projects are still in the works, but the DOE recently announced the Cummins SuperTruck II team had achieved 55% brake thermal efficiency from an engine equipped with waste heat recovery — a significant milestone.

Unlike the previous two SuperTruck projects, SuperTruck 3 focuses on electrification, and also includes medium-duty in addition to heavy-duty. It will provide funding to five vehicle manufacturers to pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts to achieve higher efficiency and zero emissions. Projects will be funded over five years, subject to appropriations, and recipients will match federal funding, dollar-for-dollar.

  • Paccar, parent company of Kenworth and Peterbilt, will develop 18 Class-8 battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles with advanced batteries. A megawatt charging station will also be developed and demonstrated. (Award amount: $32.97 million)
  • General Motors will develop and demonstrate four hydrogen fuel cell and four-battery electric Class 4-6 trucks. The project will also focus on development of clean hydrogen via electrolysis and clean power for fast charging. (Award amount: $26.06 million) 
  • Daimler Trucks North America will develop and demonstrate two Class 8 fuel cell trucks with a 600-mile range, 25,000-hour durability, equivalent payload capacity and range to diesel. (Award amount: $25.79 million)
  • Ford will develop and demonstrate five hydrogen fuel-cell-electric Class 6 Super Duty trucks targeting cost, payload, towing, and refueling times that are equivalent to conventional gasoline trucks. (Award amount: $24.95 million)
  • Volvo Group North America will develop a 400-mile-range Class 8 battery-electric tractor-trailer with advanced aerodynamics, electric braking, EV-optimized tires, automation and route planning. A megawatt charging station will be developed and demonstrated. (Award amount: $18.07 million)
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