Log in | Subscribe | RSS feed

What’s New

Cummins announces 54% increase in ‘SuperTruck’ fuel economy

15 March 2013

Cummins and PACCAR’s Peterbilt Motors announced a milestone in their ‘SuperTruck’ development—a demonstration tractor trailer developed by the two companies achieved a 54% increase in fuel economy, averaging nearly 10 mpg under real world driving conditions.

The SuperTruck features a higher efficiency engine and an aerodynamic tractor trailer designed to reduce drag. The truck also includes a waste heat recovery system that converts exhaust energy into power delivered to the crankshaft, electronic controls that use route information to optimize fuel use, tires with lower rolling resistance and lighter-weight material throughout.

The Class 8 Peterbilt 587 powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine averaged 9.9 mpg during testing last fall on US Route 287 between Fort Worth and Vernon, TX. The testing was conducted over 11 runs meeting SAE test standards along a 312-mile route. The tractor trailer had a combined gross weight of 65,000 lbs. Today’s long-haul trucks typically achieve between 5.5 and 6.5 mpg.

The truck also demonstrated a 61% improvement in freight efficiency during testing compared to a baseline truck driving the same route. That exceeded the 50% SuperTruck program goal set by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Freight efficiency is a metric based on payload weight and fuel efficiency, expressed in ton-miles per gallon.

“Many of the technologies we are testing on the engine and truck will be integral parts of the trucks of tomorrow,” said David Koeberlein, Principal Investigator for the SuperTruck program at Cummins. Cummins personnel have been focused on the engine and its integration with the powertrain. They have been working with several other companies and research institutions to develop numerous changes in the combustion system as well as advances to reduce internal friction and parasitic power to run such devices as lube and coolant pumps and air compressors.

In addition to the truck’s exterior, Peterbilt and its partners have been working on improvements in the drivetrain, the idle management system, weight reduction and vehicle climate control. Eaton’s advanced transmission facilitates further engine downspeeding for additional fuel economy benefits.

Testing will continue in 2013 on a new Peterbilt 579 that is expected to achieve further efficiency gains. The testing will address use of the tractor-trailer over a 24-hour period; including periods when drivers are at rest but still need power for such things as air conditioning and small appliances.

Cummins is a prime contractor leading one of four teams under the DOE’s SuperTruck project. At the 2012 DEER Conference, Cummins/Peterbilt was the only SuperTruck team to be close the 50% brake thermal efficiency (BTE) engine—another target of the superTruck program. They reported a BTE of 49.3% at the time.

Source: Cummins