A new Volvo truck has made a freight efficiency improvement of 88%.
Volvo’s SuperTruck demonstrator uses an improved engine, solar panels, thermal efficiency upgrades and lightweight materials to achieve the massive reduction in fuel use.
The project initially began five years ago after the US Department of Energy (DoE) set a challenge for companies to build a truck that improved freight efficiency by 50%.
Volvo’s efforts have far exceeded that goal. The company says SuperTruck can achieve mileage as high as 13 miles per gallon.
Redesigning the chassis using aluminium contributed to a total weight reduction of nearly one and a half tonnes. The roof, hood and side fairings are made of lightweight carbon fibre materials.
Aerodynamic trailer fairings also reduce weight and drag.
The SuperTruck’s battery and interior lighting are powered by solar panels on the roof of the cab.
Volvo says a crucial feature is the smaller 11 litre engine featuring advanced fuel injection, cooling, turbo-chargers, new ‘wave’ pistons and other technology tweaks. New advancements mean thermal efficiency reaches 50% in the brakes of the SuperTruck.
Some of the new technology will appear in Volvo trucks next year, whilst other features will take a number of years before they hit the market.