Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), a subsidiary of Daimler Truck, revealed the Freightliner SuperTruck II in Las Vegas this week, which uses a variety of technical innovations to demonstrate efficiency potential in freight transportation.
The concept vehicle was developed as part of the SuperTruck program co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which aims to reduce emissions in road freight transport. As part of the SuperTruck program, DTNA engineers research on next-generation heavy-duty commercial truck technologies, technical ways for their development, and ways to integrate them into series production.
DTNA is focused on developing new technologies for promising core components and systems to improve truck operating efficiency in the real world, increasing customer success and fleet efficiency. Improved tractor aerodynamics, low-rolling resistance tires, powertrain improvements and energy management with advanced technologies were identified as areas for technology innovation that could potentially enter production for customers in the future.
Building on the success of SuperTruck I, which was introduced by DTNA back in 2015, SuperTruck II surpassed expectations in aerodynamics, tires, powertrain and energy management, while doubling the freight efficiency of the base vehicle from the start of the SuperTruck program.
Most aerodynamic truck Freightliner has everbuilt
Freightliner engineers were able to overachieve in aerodynamic improvements and reduce the aerodynamic drag of SuperTruck II by more than 12 percent over SuperTruck I. Instead of radically changing the structure of the truck, the design goal for SuperTruck II was to redefine the existing shape of the market-leading Cascadia to maximize aerodynamic efficiency and simultaneously employ advanced design language to convey that efficiency.
The redesigned hood, bumper and chassis fairing all work well with the existing cab structure and now allow the air to flow undisturbed around the truck. The grille, air intakes and doors were redesigned to be as seamless and clean as possible in order to not compromise the aerodynamics of the truck. Active side extenders and a roof spoiler system closes the trailer gap by up to 4 inches at highway speeds and an enhanced Aerodynamic Height Control lowers the truck just inches off the ground for additional aerodynamic improvements. By removing the exterior mirrors and integrating a mirrorless camera system the aerodynamic drag of SuperTruck II was significantly reduced.
The drive to innovate
SuperTruck II features the most efficient powertrain Freightliner has ever integrated into a truck. The highly efficient powertrain enables a 5.7 percent fuel consumption reduction over SuperTruck I, achieving lower downspeeding and greater fuel savings through reduced drag overdrive.
An innovative 48-volt electrical system using lithium-ion batteries allows for decreased fuel consumption and increased driver comfort features like a new electric air conditioning system that consumes 50 percent less energy than SuperTruck I and continues seamless operations while the engine is turned off.
Brand new specifically engineered tires not only reduce vehicle energy consumption but also reduce maintenance downtime due to minimized wear and tear. Tires play a critical role to achieving efficiency goals, by lowering the friction on the road, therefore less fuel is needed to maintain the truck speed.