Daimler and its Freightliner truck division have smashed through efficiency targets set by the US Department of Energy with its SuperTruck technology demonstrator, which combines sleek aero and mechanical refinements to drop average fuel consumption to 19.28 l/100km.
The DoE target was for an overall frieght efficiency improvement of 50 percent. The Daimler SuperTruck recorded a whopping 115 percent improvement.
Yes, 19.28 l/100km is a pitiful result for a passenger car, but consider that the SuperTruck weighs just under 30 tonnes and it starts to look a lot better. Let's also not forget its 10.7 litre, 290kW/1898Nm diesel engine either.
After all, it would take 20 Toyota Camrys to equal the GVWM of the SuperTruck, and at an average consumption of 7.8 l/100km each, that group (what is the collective noun for a bunch of Camrys?) would guzzle 156 litres of petrol against the SuperTruck's 19.28.
How did Daimler and Freightliner achieve their result?
Well, the sleek, ground-hugging bodywork and seamless transition between cab and trailer is obvious enough, but further efficiency gains were made through clever tuning of the Detroit Diesel powerplant and adding in features like a fuel-saving coasting mode.
Low rolling-resistance single tyres also helped cut mechanical drag and save fuel. A hybrid system was experimented with, but wasn't used in the SuperTruck programme.
The potential impact of the SuperTruck's technology is massive, and Daimler says many of its features will find their way into production trucks in the near future.
With road freight being just a key part of Australian industry - and fuel costs being the number one expense for truckers - a super-efficient SuperTruck may be hauling your mail, furniture or groceries in the not-too-distant future.
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