Green Fleet Top News

DOE Boosts SuperTruck Funding, Medium-Duty Grants

March 1, 2016

Photo of U.S. DOE Deputy Asst. Secretary Reuben Sarkar by Mike Antich .
Photo of U.S. DOE Deputy Asst. Secretary Reuben Sarkar by Mike Antich .

The U.S. Department of Energy has boosted funding for its SuperTruck II initiative to increase fuel efficiency of Class 7and 8 trucks and will provide funding for several projects that would develop alternative powertrains for medium-duty vehicles, the agency announced at the Work Truck Show.

During the opening keynote for the 2016 Green Truck Summit, Reuben Sarkar, deputy assistant secretary for Sustainable Transportation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced that the SuperTruck II initiative would receive $80 million in funding.

The initial DOE budget proposal had set the SuperTruck II request for appropriations at $60 million, much of it coming at the expense of cuts in the DOE’s Clean Cities program.

SuperTruck II, which is subject to congressional appropriations, will provide funding for cost-shared projects, which would provide research and demonstrate long-haul truck technology that are able to achieve a greater than 100% improvement in vehicle freight efficiencies relative to the 2009 baseline, and also to provide engine thermal brake efficiencies greater than or equal to 55%.

Sarkar also announced more than $12 million in selections for three new cost-shared projects focused on the research, development, and demonstration of plug-in electric powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Among the medium-duty projects that are receiving funding are:

  • Robert Bosch LLC (Farmington Hills, MI) will receive $5 million to develop and demonstrate a medium-duty plug-in hybrid vehicle powertrain that reduces fuel consumption by 50%. 
  • Cummins Corporate Research and Technology (Columbus, IN) will receive $4.5 million to develop and demonstrate a Class 6 plug-in hybrid delivery truck that reduces fuel consumption by 50%.
  • McLaren Performance Technologies (Livonia, MI) will receive $2.6 million to develop a Class 6 delivery truck with a scalable, innovative, lightweight, low-cost, and commercially-viable plug-in electric drive system that improves fuel economy by 100%.

“Improving the efficiency of commercial trucks is critical to reducing our petroleum consumption, strengthening our clean energy economy, and further reducing our contributions to climate change,” Sarkar said. “This new funding will not only accelerate innovation but also foster rapid market adoption of new energy efficient vehicle technologies.

The Department of Energy launched its SuperTruck initiative in 2010. Vehicles developed under SuperTruck I are Class 8 combination trucks that 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% of freight tonnage.

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