DTNA hails Freightliner SuperTruck competition tilt


Daimler starts from scratch using mix of available technologies with future innovations

DTNA hails Freightliner SuperTruck competition tilt
DTNA's Frieghtliner concept.

 

Five years in the making, Daimler Trucks North America says it has beaten the SuperTruck Challenge from the US Department of Energy to produce a prototype vehicle that is at least 50 per cent more efficient than a 2009 baseline truck.

The Freightliner SuperTruck, a collaborative effort from Freightliner, Detroit Engines, Mercedes-Benz and Fuso, surpassed the 50 per cent barrier by 65 per cent mainly due to better aerodynamics.

Unveiled at the 2015 Mid-America Truck Show, Daimler took a clean-sheet approach to the challenge to make the truck 54 per cent more aerodynamic than the 2009 baseline truck.

The engineers providing an adjustable ride height, rear wheel fairings, articulated side extenders and ventilation slats in the truck’s grille that closes when it is travelling at high speed.

The trailer also received a sleek design with the side skirts modelled to channel air past the wheels rather than underneath and rear fins to reduce turbulence from building up behind the trailer.

A newly-designed 10.7 litre hybrid diesel/electric engine drives the Freightliner SuperTruck, which used 19.3 litres per 100km during a five-day test run over 502km at 104km/h.

"We are thrilled with the positive results, and are honoured to have been part of the program," says Derek Rotz, principal investigator for SuperTruck, Daimler Trucks North America.

"By incorporating a mix of available technologies with future innovations, we were able to use the SuperTruck program to take the first steps in seeing what may be technically possible and commercially viable."

Its cargo-cooling system is powered by rooftop solar panels, a GPS-predictive system adjusts speed and shifts gears based on the route ahead and a waste heat recovery system collects thermal energy from the exhaust.

The designers also incorporated lightweight materials, custom Michelin tires with a rubber compound, fewer crossmembers and a lighter rear suspension to reduce the 2009 baseline truck’s weight by 318kg.

Daimler’s concept prime mover comes 12 months after Walmart showed off the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, dubbed the WAVE, a collaboration with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine.

The concept featured a micro-turbine hybrid powertrain that ran on diesel, natural gas and biodisesel, helping it achieve 4.54km per litre. 

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