Daimler's SuperTruck Achieves 115 Percent Freight Efficiency Improvement (PHOTOS)

Mar 27, 2015 12:56 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro


Daimler Trucks North American (DTNA) SuperTruck program has been a big success so far, which is good news for truckers everywhere.

DTNA's test bested the Department of Energy program's goal of 50 percent freight efficiency improvement by posting an impressive 115 percent improvement.

The program is a five-year initiative sponsored by the DOE to improve freight efficiency and brake thermal efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption of Class 8 trucks, according to a company release.

DTNA started working on the SuperTruck program back in 2010 with Detroit and local suppliers, labs and universities.

The highly-anticipated SuperTruck was finally revealed during the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show to much fan-fare at the Freightliner trucks booth.

"It is our expectation that we will continue to review and refine what we've learned and achieved over the course of the SuperTruck initiative, and use that knowledge to bolster our leadership in fuel efficiency," said Derek Rotz, principal investigator for SuperTruck, Daimler Trucks North America in a company statement.

The SuperTruck comes with a hybrid drivetrain, featuring an 11-liter diesel engine and electric motor. Some accessories found on the vehicle includes energy-efficient, low-rolling single tires and an air conditioner that runs off the battery, instead of belts attached to the engine.

Solar panels can also be found on the roof of the trailer to help the truck run on its climate control system on sunny days.

Testing was conducted on highways in Texas and Oregon, city routes in Portland, and at the DTNA Detroit engineering facility to demonstrate engine efficiency.

The final demonstration saw the SuperTruck go through a five-day 312-mile round trip route on Texas Interstate 35 between San Antonio and Dallas. The truck traveled at a weight of 65,000 lbs GVWR and at a speed of 65 mph, according to the Daimler release.

The truck achieved an average result of 12.2 mpg, which is 115 percent better than an average truck available today, according to the release.

Though no mass production plans have been made yet, the SuperTruck would save a long haul trucker about 10,000 gallons of fuel per year, or about $28,000 at current prices.

 "The SuperTruck program is just one of many DTNA initiatives that underscore our deep commitment to developing and implementing best-in-class fuel efficiency and aerodynamic innovations that will benefit our customers and our industry for the long-term," said Diane Hames, general manager, marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America, in a company statement.

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