Cummins-Peterbilt Supertruck achieves 10.7 mpg in latest test

Developing a truck that could meet or exceed 10 mpg when fully loaded was considered unlikely, if not impossible, just a few years back, with most trucks averaging between 5.5 and 6.5 mpg.


Cummins Inc.and Peterbilt Motors Co., a division of PACCAR, announced that the latest version of their SuperTruck demonstration tractor-trailer achieved 10.7 mpg last month under real-world driving conditions.

Developing a truck that could meet or exceed 10 mpg when fully loaded was considered unlikely, if not impossible, just a few years back, with most trucks averaging between 5.5 and 6.5 mpg. However, with advances in engines, aerodynamics and more, SuperTruck has proven that 10 mpg is attainable.

SuperTruck averaged a 75-percent increase in fuel economy, a 43-percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and an 86-percent gain in freight efficiency in 24-hour, head-to-head testing against a 2009 baseline truck - all significant improvements.

The Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck was on display today for President Barack Obama's announcement of firm deadlines for the next generation of national fuel-efficiency and GHG emissions standards for heavy duty commercial vehicles.

The goal of the SuperTruck program, initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is to improve long-haul Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency. The program focuses on advanced and highly efficient engine systems and vehicle technologies that meet prevailing emissions and Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle safety and regulatory requirements.

In addition to the benefits of reduced fuel consumption and petroleum usage, the improvements in engine system efficiency will deliver a significant reduction in GHG emissions. 

Cummins has partnered with Peterbilt Motors Co. for the SuperTruck project. The project objectives have included development and demonstration of a highly efficient and clean diesel engine, an advanced waste heat recovery system, an aerodynamic tractor and trailer combination and a lithium ion battery-auxiliary power unit, to reduce engine idling.

The Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck uses the Peterbilt Model 579, with best-in-class aerodynamic efficiency. The engine, based on Cummins industry-leading ISX15, converts exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft, and has electronic control software that uses route information to optimize fuel use. The SuperTruck also includes chassis refinements, improvements in the aerodynamics and other significant advances in the engine. Lightweighting throughout the tractor-trailer also enables increased freight efficiency.

Eaton Corp., also part of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck project team, is developing a next-generation automated transmission that improves fuel efficiency in heavy duty trucks. Eaton's contribution includes the design, development and prototyping of an advanced transmission that facilitates reduced engine-operating speeds. Cummins and Eaton jointly designed shift schedules and other features to yield further improved fuel efficiency.

This demonstration of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck has exceeded DOE goals for freight efficiency - a key trucking metric based on payload weight and fuel efficiency expressed in ton-miles per gallon. The SuperTruck achieved an 86-percent improvement in freight efficiency and a 75-percent fuel-economy improvement over a 24-hour test cycle in December 2013. The program goal was a 68-percent freight-efficiency increase over a 2009 vintage baseline vehicle of the same weight traveling along the same route.

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