Cummins, Navistar to Get DOE Funds to Develop "Super Truck"

Jan. 13, 2010
Project seeks fuel-efficient technologies for on-highway vehicles

Two Class 8 (on-highway) truck OEMs are in line for over $100 million in federal funding to research technologies for the “Super Truck” program, a U.S. Dept. of Energy initiative to develop designs and capabilities for that will improve vehicle freight efficiency.

Transportation accounts for 28% of all U.S. energy use, and Class 8 trucks consume more than 80% of diesel fuel in the country. So, improving fuel efficiency is seen as a way to reduce consumption and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Engine builder Cummins Inc. will receive almost $39 million to develop, integrate, and demonstrate “systems level technology,” and a further $15 million to support advanced technology (diesel) powertrains for light-duty vehicles (ATP-LD).

“The DOE has provided strong leadership in establishing an advanced combustion engine research and development partnership between industry and government,” stated Cummins v.p. and chief technical officer Dr. John Wall.

Cummins will partner with Peterbilt Motors Co. to develop and demonstrate a “clean diesel” engine, an advanced waste-heat recovery system, an aerodynamic Peterbilt tractor and trailer combo, and a fuel cell auxiliary power unit to reduce engine idling.

Truck builder and diesel engine manufacturer Navistar International will receive over $37 million in federal funding from U.S. DOE to develop “fuel-efficiency and emissions-reducing technologies” for Class 8 (on-highway) vehicles. The project’s goal is to develop a so-called "Super Truck" that will improve standard fuel efficiency by 50 percent, according to the manufacturer.

Navistar will develop and demonstrate technologies to improve truck and trailer aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, waste-heat recovery, hybridization, idle reduction, and “reduced rolling resistance” tires.

If the technologies under study are commercialized and widely implemented, Navistar said they could save more than 100 million gallons of gasoline and diesel per day, and reduce carbon emissions from on-road vehicles by 20% by 2030.

"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," stated Navistar Truck Group president Dee Kapur. "The International ProStar is currently the industry's Class 8 leader in fuel efficiency and aerodynamics and this project positions Navistar to take its leadership to the next level."