The can-do spirit of American automotive engineers has been on full display over the past few weeks, as truck manufacturers unveil innovation after innovation to boost the efficiency of heavy trucks that move companies’ freight cross-country.
It is crystal clear that we possess— today— the know-how to dramatically cut fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from heavy trucks. Moreover, we can do this while saving consumers hundreds of dollars annually and giving trucking companies the high-quality, affordable equipment they require.
Some of the recently-announced advances include:
- Wabash National unveiled two new trailer add-on products that “when used together, can boost fuel economy 9 percent or more by improving aerodynamics.”
- Dana highlighted a tandem axle that, when combined with an optimized integration, can improve fuel efficiency by a 2 percent.
- Peterbilt introduced its new Model 579 truck that improves fuel efficiency by up to 14 percent.
- Kenworth announced that predictive cruise control was now standard on some models.
All of these fuel-saving solutions are available today thanks to the acumen of engineers at these leading manufacturers. The first round of well-designed federal fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards are also driving innovations like these to the market.
Even so, the strides we are making today should only be the beginning.
Daimler’s Super Truck Doubles Efficiency
The team at Daimler Trucks North America provided the best example yet of our future potential with its entry in the Department of Energy Super Truck program. DTNA announced its team has “achieved 115 percent freight efficiency improvement, surpassing the Department of Energy program’s goal of 50 percent improvement.” Its truck registered 12.2 mpg recently – a leap above the 6 MPG typical of pre-2014 trucks.
Improvements where made across the platform, including electrified auxiliaries, controlled power steering and air systems, active aerodynamics, a long-haul hybrid system, and trailer solar panels. Engine efficiency advancements were particularly noteworthy – given the permanence of such solutions. The Detroit Diesel engine reported a 50.2 percent engine brake thermal efficiency which was combined with further improvements from engine downspeeding and the use of a waste-heat recovery system.
Daimler’s fantastic results demonstrate that – when given a goal anchored in science, economics and innovation – our engineers can deliver phenomenal results. Daimler should now lead the way in driving these solutions to national and global scale.
Setting the Bar Higher on Fuel Efficiency and Emissions
The time has come to give our engineers a new goal.
EDF is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to set new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for heavy trucks that cut fuel consumption by 40 percent in 2025 compared to 2010. This equates to an average of 10.7 mpg for new tractor-trailer trucks.
President Obama has called for new standards. These are expected to be announced late spring and were sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review this past week.
The first generation standards have created a strong, industry-supported foundation on which the coming standards can be built. These standards push improvements in all aspects of trucks through complementary engine and vehicle standards. In fact, Daimler – a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks with the engineering prowess to set the high bar of 12.2 mpg for the Super Truck program – has recognized these standards as “very good examples of regulations that work well.”
We Have The Technology
Let there be no doubt that if we set a bold goal for 2025 we will meet it:
- Technology solutions are available today to meet the goal, and our engineers, with a target presented to them, will further innovate truck designs.
- Using these technologies will save us all money: Trucking fleets stand to see lower lifecycle costs and reasonable paybacks; consumer goods companies and other manufacturers stand to save money when shipping their products to market; and every U.S. household stands to save hundreds of dollars a year in lower priced goods.
- There is a proven regulatory structure for bringing these type of technologies to market: The EPA-DOT fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards are proven, broadly supported and already delivering impressive results.
- We have an urgent need for deploying these technologies: Heavy trucks account for nearly six percent of U.S. global warming emissions and are the single fastest growing end-use source of emissions – on pace to add nearly 150 million more tons annually over the coming years.
Setting a bold goal will help us take these technologies from the test track to the highway over the next decade, helping companies reduce both their costs and carbon risks, while delivering benefits for communities’ air quality and the climate.
- Consumer Goods Companies: Stand Up For Strong Truck Standards
- To Drive Down CO2 Emissions, Focus on Freight
Get new posts by email
We'll deliver new blog posts to your inbox.