Transportation accounts for 28% of all U.S. energy use, and Class 8 trucks consume more than 80% of diesel fuel in the country. Improving fuel efficiency is a critical path to reducing oil consumption and cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ATDynamics technology will be a key contribution to the Department of Energy (DOE) "SuperTruck" project focused on doubling the freight efficiency of current tractor-trailer technology over the next 5 years.
ATDynamics announced on February 8th, 2011 that it will partner with Navistar, Wabash National and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories among others in the federally-funded program. ATDynamics will provide expertise in next-generation trailer aerodynamics to support the project's goal of increasing by 50 percent the freight efficiency of on-highway Class 8 trucks, measured in ton-miles per gallon. DOE awarded a total of $37.3 million for the project.
Aerodynamics will be a primary component of the five-year SuperTruck project. At highway speeds, aerodynamic drag accounts for as much as two-thirds of the fuel consumed by Class 8 trucks. Because aerodynamic drag directly affects the level of power required to move a vehicle at the wheels, aerodynamic improvements will leverage the thermal-efficiency gains, powertrain hybridization and other upstream enhancements that are targeted as part of the project. Prior to SuperTruck, innovations in trailer aerodynamics have typically been pursued in isolation from truck design.
The freight transportation industry will require close collaboration between OEM manufacturers, new technology providers and fleets. ATDynamics is working to seize this opportunity to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels and enhance U.S. energy security.