DOE launching $80M Supertruck II initiative; ≥ 55% BTE; awards $12M for 3 medium- and heavy-duty plug-in projects
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is launching SuperTruck II, an $80-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001447), subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology.
The project is a follow-on to the successful $240-million SuperTruck I initiative (earlier post), the goal of which was to develop tractor-trailers that were 50% more efficient on a ton‐mile‐per-gallon basis than baseline models by 2015. Two teams have already exceeded this goal and two are on track to meet it.
DOE is also awarding more than $12 million for three new cost-shared projects focused on the research, development, and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
Supertruck. Heavy-duty trucks consume about 20% of America’s total transportation fuel. As the backbone of domestic freight transportation, 18-wheelers haul 70% of all freight tonnage. Improving the fuel efficiency of these vehicles can go a long way to reducing dependency on oil and lowering carbon emissions. The Department of Energy launched its first SuperTruck initiative in 2010.
SuperTruck I focused exclusively on long-haul Class 8 trucks and achieved freight efficiency improvements in excess of the 50% goal, with many of the technologies ready for commercialization or nearing commercial readiness. SuperTruck I also identified additional opportunities for commercial truck efficiency improvements.
SuperTruck II includes more aggressive overall freight efficiency and engine brake thermal efficiency goals—specifically, a greater than 100% freight efficiency goal and greater than or equal to 55% engine brake thermal efficiency goal.
In addition, SuperTruck II also requires demonstration of the same or improved vehicle performance (acceleration, gradeability) relative to a 2009 baseline and includes cost requirements to provide a shorter payback period for the fleet customer, which is needed to foster a more rapid market adoption of new energy efficient technologies.
The application focus for SuperTruck II is Class 8 long‐haul trucks using conventional fuels (diesel or gasoline). However, the use of Class 8 regional‐haul trucks is expected to increase in the future as more container ships begin to arrive on the East Coast due to the widening of the Panama Canal; improving the efficiency of regional‐haul trucks is becoming more important as fleets shift to daycabs to accommodate shorter hauls.
As such, to the greatest extent possible, technologies selected to meet the SuperTruck II freight efficiency improvement goal for heavy‐duty Class 8 long‐haul trucks should be applicable to Class 8 regional‐haul trucks as well, DOE said.
Achieving Class 8 truck efficiency increases will require an integrated systems approach to ensure that the various components of the vehicle work together. Applications must include a Class 8 truck original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Additionally, DOE is highly encouraging team participation by an engine manufacturer, a trailer manufacturer, suppliers, national labs, universities, fleet operators, and other stakeholders.
SuperTruck II projects will utilize a wide variety of truck and trailer technology approaches to achieve performance targets, such as improvements in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and vehicle weight.
Individual awards are expected to vary between $5,000,000 and $20,000,000; DOE anticipates making awards that will run 48‐60 months in length. Project continuation will be contingent upon satisfactory performance and go/no‐go decision review. At the go/no‐go decision points, EERE will evaluate project performance, project schedule adherence, meeting milestone objectives, compliance with reporting requirements, and overall contribution to the program goals and objectives. As a result of this evaluation, EERE will make a determination to continue the project, re‐direct the project, or discontinue funding the project.
Plug-in projects. The recipients of the funding for plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles are:
Robert Bosch LLC will receive $5 million to develop and demonstrate a medium-duty plug in hybrid vehicle powertrain that reduces fuel consumption by 50%.
Cummins Corporate Research and Technology will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a Class 6 plug in hybrid delivery truck that reduces fuel consumption by 50%.
McLaren Performance Technologies will receive $2.6 million to develop a Class 6 delivery truck with a scalable, innovative, lightweight, low-cost, and commercially-viable plug-in electric drive system that improves fuel economy by 100%.