Cummins and Peterbilt demonstrate 9.9 mpg Class 8 truck

By Land Line staff | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cummins and Peterbilt say real-world testing of their combined “SuperTruck” has netted 9.9 mpg, just a fraction shy of 10 mpg.

The companies released test results on Thursday, March 14, for the Peterbilt 587 powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine.

SAE International approved testing along a 312-mile route along U.S. 287 from Fort Worth and Vernon, TX. The test truck had a combined gross weight of 65,000 pounds.

Company leaders said the truck uses aerodynamics and technology to reduce drag and convert exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft. The test truck also used route optimization, low-rolling-resistance tires and lighter weights throughout to achieve the result. An Eaton transmission uses “downspeeding” to further save on fuel, the companies said.

“Many of the technologies we are testing on the engine and truck will be integral parts of the trucks of tomorrow,” said David Koeberlein, principal investigator for the SuperTruck program at Cummins. “We are focused on developing innovations that meet and exceed the needs of our customers, while helping to create a cleaner, healthier and safer environment.”

Starting in 2010, the four-year SuperTruck program is made possible with $38.8 million in company investment. The companies are confident that the 2013 edition of the test will exceed what they’ve achieved to this point.

“Aerodynamics has been a significant contributor to the efficiency gains,” said Scott Newhouse, senior assistant chief engineer of product development at Peterbilt. “We are very pleased with what our team has been able to accomplish using a comprehensive tractor-trailer approach.”

Baseline trucks achieve 5 to 6 mpg, the companies said. Achieving 9.9 mpg amounts to savings of 54 percent in fuel and 35 percent in greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

Reducing fuel consumption continues to drive many manufacturers and truckers in a game of “can you top this?”

Saving fuel, and money, doesn’t stop at aerodynamics and technology. It also includes the way a driver drives and how a truck is spec’d for a particular operation.

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