SuperTruck II – Even Better Than “Transformers”

Get ready for the Super Trucks. Here comes SuperTruck II – Even Better Than “Transformers”.

No, this isn’t the latest “Transformers” movie. It’s the next generation of long-haul carriers that will carry even larger loads using much less fuel.

The Department of Energy has just greenlit $137 million for development of next-generation fuel-efficiency technologies in commercial and passenger vehicles, including more funding for SuperTruck II – a group of projects to develop and demonstrate cost-effective technologies aimed at doubling the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks.

The plan, said DOE Acting Assistant Secretary David Friedman, is to “accelerate the development of innovative vehicle technologies that will save businesses and consumers money at the pump, cut carbon emissions, and strengthen our economy.”

Fuel is the largest single cost for trucking fleets. It’s also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why developing technologies like the Rentar Fuel Catalyst are crucial to reverse the nasty effects of climate change.

Improving Freight Efficiency by 100 Percent

“SuperTruck II builds on the successful SuperTruck I program, which has already led to more than 20 fuel-saving technologies that have reached the commercial market,” Friedman added.

Launched in 2010, the first SuperTruck initiative helped developed a new generation of Class 8 combination trucks – commonly known as 18-wheelers – to dramatically increase tractor-trailer fuel, engine and drivetrain efficiency through the use of advanced technologies. As the backbone of domestic freight transportation, 18-wheelers haul 70 percent of all freight tonnage in the United States.

SuperTruck II projects will aim to improve heavy-truck freight efficiency by more than 100 percent, using best-in-class truck technology from 2009 as a baseline, with an emphasis on cost-effectiveness and performance. Specifically, the projects will involve new technology in engine efficiency, drivetrain efficiency, aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and vehicle weight.

The DOE has selected four SuperTruck II companies – Cummins, Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar, and Volvo Technology of America – for projects of $20 million in federal funding. Each recipient will match that amount dollar-for-dollar.

According to, the companies will specialize in four distinct projects:

  • Cummins is developing a more efficient engine and advanced drivetrain and vehicle technologies.
  • Daimler will specialize in a tractor-trailer combination using a suite of technologies including active aerodynamics, cylinder deactivation, hybridization, and the electrification of accessories.
  • Navistar is looking at electrified engine components that can enable higher engine efficiency and a significantly more aerodynamically reengineered cab.
  • Volvo Technology of America is focusing on a tractor-trailer combination with a lightweight cab that relies on alternative engine designs and a variety of system technologies.