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The SuperTruck Race Is On (February 01, 2010)

COLUMBUS, Ind. - The race is on. In mid-January, the US Department of Energy wrote the cheques and issued the ambitious challenge to OEMs: Develop a Class 8 SuperTruck that will deliver 50% better fue...


COLUMBUS, Ind. –The race is on. In mid-January, the US Department of Energy wrote the cheques and issued the ambitious challenge to OEMs: Develop a Class 8 SuperTruck that will deliver 50% better fuel efficiency. US Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu announced the project and doled out the funding awards at Cummins’ Columbus Technical Center Jan. 11. In all, US$187 million was awarded, much of it earmarked for development of fuel-efficient Class 8 tractor-trailers. More than US$115 million was dedicated to developing a Class 8 SuperTruck, which will optimize aerodynamics, idle-reduction technologies, waste heat recovery, hybridization and advanced combustion techniques, the DoE announced. Receiving funding for the heavy-duty project were: Cummins, US$38.8 million; Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), US$39.6 million; and Navistar, US$37.3 million.

Cummins said it will use its portion to develop and demonstrate a highly efficient and clean diesel engine, an advanced waste heat recovery system and will work with Peterbilt to develop an aerodynamic tractor/trailer combination as well as a fuel cell APU.

“Cummins has long enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the DOE. These R&D programs have helped us develop the best products for our customers and the environment,” said Cummins president and chief operating officer Tom Linebarger.

DTNA and Detroit Diesel will use their cash to develop and demonstrate technologies such as: engine downsizing; electrification of auxiliary systems such as oil and water pumps; waste heat recovery; improved aerodynamics; and hybridization.

“This funding enables us to significantly accelerate our research and development of advanced technologies. It will strengthen our ability to bring ever more efficient products to the market,” said Elmar Boeckenhoff, senior vice-president, engineering and technology for DTNA. “This forward-thinking program is a technology partnership that will help us to quickly and fully explore the ‘stretch’ technologies that can lead to the next level of product innovation.”

Navistar, meanwhile, will use its funding to: develop and demonstrate technologies to improve aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, waste heat recovery, hybridization, idle reduction and reduced rolling resistance.

“Navistar is proud of its fuel efficiency leadership and we’re delighted to work with the DOE on a project that will improve truck and trailer aerodynamics and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Dee Kapur, president, Navistar Truck Group.


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