Volvo’s High-tech Supertruck Ex­ceeds Pro­gram’s Freight Ef­fi­ciency Goals

Road Today - - Oem News -

Volvo Trucks North Amer­ica has un­veiled an in­no­va­tive Supertruck demon­stra­tor whose com­bi­na­tion of ad­vanced aero­dy­nam­ics, ve­hi­cle and pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies achieved a freight ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ment of 88 per­cent – ex­ceed­ing the 50 per­cent im­prove­ment goal set by the U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy (DOE) pro­gram.

From the top-of-cab so­lar pan­els pow­er­ing its bat­tery and in­te­rior lights, to its ul­tra-light alu­minum frame and highly ad­vanced 425 horse­power 11-liter pro­pri­etary en­gine, the Supertruck con­cept ve­hi­cle al­lowed Volvo en­gi­neers to push the bound­aries of heavy truck ef­fi­ciency. The sleek trac­tor­trailer com­bi­na­tion boosted fuel ef­fi­ciency by 70 per­cent – ex­ceed­ing 12 miles per gal­lon, with some test runs show­ing more than 13 miles per gal­lon – in road tests, and pow­er­train brake ther­mal ef­fi­ciency reached 50 per­cent.

The Supertruck pro­gram was a five-year DOE re­search and de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive to im­prove freight ef­fi­ciency – mean­ing more pay­load car­ried while burn­ing less fuel – by 50 per­cent com­pared to 2009 base model trucks. The DOE re­cently se­lected the Volvo Group to par­tic­i­pate in DOE’S Supertruck II pro­gram, which will tar­get a 100 per­cent im­prove­ment on a ton-mile-per-gal­lon ba­sis, and a pow­er­train ca­pa­ble of 55 per­cent brake ther­mal ef­fi­ciency.

Volvo’s aero­dy­namic Supertruck has a shorter front end than con­ven­tional trucks on the road to­day, and the hood has a sharper down­ward slope. Light­weight fair­ings run the length of the trac­tor and trailer, and cam­eras have re­placed rearview mir­rors. Its re­designed chas­sis is made al­most en­tirely of alu­minum, which halved the chas­sis weight and con­trib­uted to an over­all trac­tor-trailer weight re­duc­tion of 3,200 pounds. An en­hanced ver­sion of Volvo’s I-see, a new fea­ture that mem­o­rizes thou­sands of routes trav­eled and uses that knowl­edge to op­ti­mize cruise speed and keep the I-shift au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion in the most fuel-ef­fi­cient gear pos­si­ble, was an in­te­gral part of the fuel ef­fi­ciency gains seen dur­ing Supertruck on-road test­ing. A key part of the over­all ef­fi­ciency gain is the down­sized 11-liter Volvo en­gine, fea­tur­ing ad­vanced fuel in­jec­tion, cool­ing, oil and turbo-charg­ing sys­tems, as well as new “wave” pis­tons and other im­prove­ments. The Supertruck pow­er­train in­cludes a com­plex Rank­ine waste-heat re­cov­ery sys­tem, which con­verts heat nor­mally wasted in ex­haust into torque, boost­ing fuel econ­omy by help­ing to power the ve­hi­cle. While not ev­ery tech­nol­ogy demon­strated in the Volvo Supertruck will be com­mer­cial­ized, three of the en­gine ad­vance­ments de­vel­oped through Supertruck re­search – the wave pis­ton, turbo com­pound­ing sys­tem and com­mon rail fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem – are al­ready fea­tured in Volvo Trucks’ 2017 en­gine line-up. Like­wise, a num­ber of Supertruck- de­rived aero­dy­namic im­prove­ments – like flared chas­sis fair­ings im­prov­ing air flow around the drive wheels, a re­designed bumper and tur­bu­lencere­duc­ing de­flec­tors – can be found on to­day’s Volvo VNL trac­tors.

• RT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.