Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.
Tractor-trailer prototype uses probe developed by ORNL for better gas mileage, cleaner exhaust
It’s a sleek, aerodynamic freight-hauling machine. With its wide tires, rounded edges, and body parts that hug the ground, this million-dollar prototype looks like it could be at home on a race track.
It’s already achieved celebrity status, serving as the backdrop for President Barack Obama during a February speech on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards.
But the SuperTruck is more likely to end up hauling meat and potatoes from Boise to Boston.
Still, researchers have reason to celebrate. On Tuesday, they said the high-tech tractor-trailer has increased fuel efficiency by 75 percent. Fully loaded, the SuperTruck can drive 10.7 miles on a gallon of gas. That compares to an industry average of 5.8 to 6.5 miles per gallon.
“This is a really big deal,” said Claus Daniel, deputy director of sustainable transportation projects at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the SuperTruck made a pit stop on Tuesday.
It’s the result of a collaboration between the trucking industry and the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s not clear how soon the new technologies tested in the Cummins/Peterbilt tractor-trailer, which was built in Denton, Texas, will show up on the nation’s highways. [Read more…]