The Freightliner SuperTruck from Daimler North America more than doubles mpg for big rigs. This is a seriously big deal. When trucks like this are adopted nationwide, and they will be, the fuel savings will be enormous. Funding for supertrucks was provided by the Department of Transportation, in an excellent example of how governments can spur innovation.
The specs on the truck are just amazing. It it got 12.2 mpg pulling 65,000 lbs. in real life tests on Texas highways. Most big rigs are lucky to get 6 mpg. Freight Liner Super Truck has a wealth of information, presented in a dazzling high tech manner, check it out!
Most of [the mpg improvement] comes from simple aerodynamic tweaks like adding an adjustable ride height, rear wheel fairings and articulated side extenders to cover gaps between the cab and trailer. The SuperTruck is also 700 pounds lighter than the baseline, thanks to a reengineered tractor frame.
Its hybrid diesel/electric 10.7-liter power plant supplements the diesel fuel source with recaptured waste heat from the exhaust and brake. Roof-mounted solar panels draw in enough energy to independently run the trailer’s air conditioning system on sunny days. The SuperTruck even leverages GPS tracking to automatically shift gears and modulate the vehicle’s speed to maximize efficiency given upcoming terrain changes. All this translates into one seriously efficient vehicle. A recent test run through Texas saw the Freightliner hit 12.2 miles per gallon at 65 miles per hour. That’s not bad for a truck pulling more than 65,000 pounds.