Working with $20 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck II program, Volvo Trucks will develop an advanced heavy-duty tractor-trailer concept delivering increased freight-hauling efficiency and corresponding reductions in carbon emissions. The Volvo Group and its partners will match the development funds dollar-for-dollar.
Volvo Trucks will use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer that exceeds the freight efficiency goal of 100 percent improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared with a 2009 baseline. The team also will demonstrate a powertrain capable of 55 percent brake thermal efficiency.
Volvo will leverage its industry-leading expertise in vehicle development, along with established partnerships with advanced technology and trailer equipment vendors. It will also draw from the company’s legacy of innovation in the areas of energy efficiency, safety and environmental solutions. The majority of the work will be performed in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is the North American headquarters for Volvo Trucks, and at the Volvo powertrain facility in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Volvo recently unveiled its first SuperTruck demonstrator at an event at the DOE in Washington, D.C. The Volvo SuperTruck achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88 percent, exceeding the 50 percent improvement goal set by the program. The tractor-trailer combination boosted fuel efficiency by 70 percent – exceeding 12 miles per gallon, with some test runs showing more than 13 miles per gallon – in road tests.
“Our research under the first SuperTruck program has already paid dividends in our existing vehicle and engine product lines,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “We look forward to additional breakthroughs that will deliver benefits to our customers and the environment.”
Volvo already introduced in its 2017 powertrain lineup some of the improvements from the first SuperTruck program, including new, enhanced Volvo D11 and D13 engines, featuring an improved “wave” piston bowl design, a common rail fuel injection system, turbo compounding for the D13 engine and a one-box Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS). The aerodynamic enhancements for Volvo’s model year 2016 Volvo VNL sleeper tractors were also a result of the SuperTruck program.
Volvo’s partners include Michelin Americas Research Company (tires), Wabash National (trailer), Metalsa (lightweight frame), Johnson-Matthey Inc. (exhaust aftertreatment system catalysts), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (exhaust aftertreatment system testing / analysis), Peloton Technology (connected vehicle / platooning), Pennsylvania State University (connected vehicle testing), Knight Transportation (long-haul fleet) and Wegmans Food Markets (regional-haul fleet).