Volvo Trucks North America has unveiled the company’s SuperTruck 2, a part of the public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that tasks OEMs with achieving a 100% freight efficiency improvement over their submitted 2009 baseline.
Volvo Trucks says it has exceeded expectations, achieving a 134% increase in freight efficiency.
“Partnering with the DOE for the SuperTruck program provides an exciting opportunity to push the technology envelope to see what’s technically possible for heavy-duty transportation and which solutions can be scaled into production,” says Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
“Some of the technologies on SuperTruck 2 will most certainly shape the future of trucking and change everything we once thought possible.”
For Volvo Trucks’ SuperTruck 2 program, advanced aerodynamics are the key to optimizing fuel efficiency. Starting with a cab perfectly wedge-shaped from front to back, including a raked and wraparound windshield, a front end designed around a downsized cooling package, a fully aerodynamic trailer with gap fairings, skirts and boat tail, as well as an adjustable ride height. Volvo Trucks also replaced the traditional hood- and cab-mounted mirrors with a streamlined camera monitoring system to reduce the drag by more than 4%.
The entire tractor-trailer combination was designed to smoothly displace air with minimal resistance, resulting in 50% lower drag than Volvo Trucks’ 2009 baseline. This represents a roughly 20% improvement in aerodynamic drag over Volvo Trucks’ SuperTruck 1.
In addition to the aerodynamics advancements, engineers implemented several weight reduction strategies to achieve a significantly reduced curb weight of 27,000 lbs. for the combined truck and the trailer. Volvo Trucks chose to utilize a 4×2 configuration, which is not common in the U.S. but is frequently utilized in Europe using fewer axles for the same payload.
Volvo Trucks also worked with the project partner trailer manufacturer to incorporate a custom, lightweight aerodynamic trailer with an optimized aerodynamic shape of the full truck and trailer to appear as one seamless unit, as well as with a tire manufacturer to include lightweight, smaller 19.5-inch advanced low-friction tires on both the SuperTruck 2 and its custom trailer.
Volvo Trucks worked in cooperation with the following SuperTruck 2 project partners: Bergstrom, Johnson Matthey, Metalsa, Michelin, Motivo Engineering, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knight Transportation, Wabash National, Wegmans and the University of Michigan.