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TheStreet Open House

‘SuperTruck’ Yields 54 Percent Increase In Fuel Economy

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) and Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR (Nasdaq: PCAR), released test results today showing their demonstration tractor-trailer achieved a 54 percent increase in fuel economy, averaging nearly 10 miles per gallon (mpg) under real world driving conditions.

The “SuperTruck” developed by the two companies features a higher-efficiency engine and an aerodynamic tractor-trailer that significantly reduces drag. The truck also includes a system that converts exhaust heat into power delivered to the crankshaft, electronic controls that use route information to optimize fuel use, tires with lower rolling resistance and lighter-weight material throughout.

The Class 8 Peterbilt 587 powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine averaged 9.9 mpg during testing last fall on U.S. Route 287 between Fort Worth and Vernon, Texas. The testing was conducted over 11 runs meeting SAE International test standards along a 312-mile route. The tractor-trailer had a combined gross weight of 65,000 lbs.

Today’s long-haul trucks typically achieve between 5.5 and 6.5 mpg. The 54 percent increase in fuel economy would save about $25,000 annually based on today’s diesel fuel prices for a long-haul truck traveling 120,000 miles per year. It would also translate into a 35 percent reduction in annual greenhouse gases per truck.

The potential savings in fuel and greenhouse gases are enormous, with about 2 million registered tractor-trailers on U.S. roads today, according to The American Trucking Association.

In addition to the fuel economy improvements, the truck also demonstrated a 61 percent improvement in freight efficiency during testing compared to a baseline truck driving the same route. That significantly exceeded the 50 percent SuperTruck program goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy. Freight efficiency is an important metric in the transportation industry that is based on payload weight and fuel efficiency expressed in ton-miles per gallon.

“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.”

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