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CALSTART white paper shows nationwide tech supplier industry ready to support more efficient heavy-duty trucks and buses

A new high-level white-paper from clean transportation industry group CALSTART shows that US companies that develop and manufacture high-efficiency, low-carbon technologies for heavy-duty vehicles are ready to support more efficient trucks and buses.

In a first attempt to gauge the scope of the United States’ high-efficiency technology supplier sector for heavy-duty trucks and buses, CALSTART conducted an initial scan of businesses and identified and mapped 255 companies. The firms range from vehicle manufacturers to component suppliers to technology developers, and operate from 535 facilities in 40 states, impacting 80% of the nation.

These companies were further segmented into ten different technology categories covering the range of components that can provide greater efficiency to medium and heavy-duty vehicles. These include advancements in current diesel engines including waste heat recovery and reduced accessory loads; more advanced combustion designs; more efficient transmissions and full powertrains including hybridization; low rolling resistance tires; advanced aerodynamics; efficient drivelines; light-weight materials; intelligent vehicle control systems; and alternative fuels including full electric drive.

Full map of high efficiency heavy duty vehicle technology companies from preliminary listing. Source: CALSTART. Click to enlarge.

The white paper’s mapping function also shows clusters of activity. These include the heavy-duty manufacturing regions of the upper Midwest; technology hubs in California and along the Pacific Coast; technology innovators on the East Coast including Massachusetts, New York, and the Carolinas; and a corridor that runs through, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio.

This report showcases what we know from experience: the U.S. is a leader in transportation tech, including next-generation advanced engines. Our industry can meet aggressive efficiency targets at affordable prices. Strong standards will encourage continued investment and drive advanced tech innovation and jobs in this sector.

—David Johnson, president and CEO of opposed-piston engine developer Achates Power

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles currently account for about 20% of GHG emissions and oil use in the US transportation sector, but are only about 5% of the vehicles on the road. Just as there are miles-per-gallon and emissions requirements for passenger vehicles, there are national efficiency and carbon standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vocational vehicles. An updated set of these standards, known as “Phase 2” and covering 2019-2027, is due out soon from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

America has a rich, nation-wide network of high-efficiency suppliers developing and providing products for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that can meet and exceed proposed standards.

This white paper just scratches the surface of that capability. High efficiency technologies and the companies making them represent an area of competitive advantage and jobs for the United States. And in a world where country after country is increasingly trying to save on fuel use, cut pollution and tackle climate change, efficient transportation technology can represent an export driver, as well.

—Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president of CALSTART

European companies have enjoyed a reputation for leading the pack when it comes to efficient trucks and buses. But as the CALSTART white paper discovered, North American vehicles are changing that trend partially due to fuel economy rules. American firms are developing and manufacturing a wide variety of advanced technologies, including many with export potential.

Businesses that rely on large trucks and buses know that more efficient vehicles save money, and reduced fuel use is a fundamental driver for heavy-duty efficiency technologies. But as the report makes clear in a series of profiles, many companies in this sector support strong national standards because they help signal future technology needs, provide clear goals and reduce risk for making investments.

Going forward, CALSTART intends for the document and the geo-mapped database to continue as a living research asset for capturing and eventually further quantifying this high efficiency segment. Companies will be encouraged to provide updated or new information on their locations, focus, and activities.


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