UPS Partners with Kenworth for Federal SuperTruck II Program

May 25, 2018 by Clarissa Hawes

Shipping giant UPS will partner with Kenworth on a project aimed at making big rigs more fuel efficient.

The Department of Energy’s SuperTruck II program focuses on developing technology that will reduce harmful carbon emissions, improve truck aerodynamics, develop more-efficient engines and reduce fuel consumption in Class 8 trucks.

UPS will provide Kenworth with insights into drive and duty cycles of its fleets, said Mike Dozier, general manager for Kenworth.

Dozier, who also serves as vice president for Kenworth’s parent Paccar, said UPS will also provide guidance on “commercial feasibility and driver acceptance of technologies developed under the Super Truck II program.”

The collaboration is an opportunity to study cutting-edge technologies in UPS’ real-world truck applications, said Bill Brentar, UPS’ director of maintenance and engineering for transportation equipment.

UPS is an early adopter of innovative technologies and seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in its trucking operations by 12 percent by 2025. The shipping giant is also committed to investing in renewable energy sources in its trucking fleet and recently ordered 125 Tesla electric semi-trucks.

Kenworth also is working closely with Paccar’s Technical Center and DAF Trucks NV, a subsidiary of the Bellvue, Wash. Truck manufacturer. The project also brings together power management company Eaton, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Mississippi State University and Austrian-based automotive research firm AVL.

Kenworth’s T680 with a Paccar MX engine will be used in the project.

The SuperTruck II project is funded by the DOE. So far $8 million has be allocated toward development of innovative technologies. Up to $12 million in additional funding could be awarded to the project over the next three years depending on annual appropriations by Congress, according to Paccar.

Semi-trucks haul approximately 80 percent of all goods in the U.S., consume about 28 billion gallons of diesel per year and consume more than 22 percent of the nation’s fuel supply annually, according to the DOE.

The five-year, $160 million initiative comprises four other SuperTruck II teams, including Navistar, Volvo, Daimler Trucks North America and Cummins-Peterbilt.

Two years into the project, the five teams have received $40 million in federal funds. Each team will match taxpayer dollars with private funds.

The Department of Energy’s SuperTruck II program was launched on Aug. 16, 2016, the same day as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rolled out new Phase 2 greenhouse gas standards for heavy trucks.

The rules are expected to cut oil consumption by up to two billion barrels and save vehicle owners about $170 billion in fuel costs, the second largest expense for trucking fleets.

Diesel costs accounted for about 21 percent of carrier expenses as of 2016, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. That number is expected to rise as fuel prices continue to soar in 2018.

More fuel-efficient trucks would cut down on fleets’ fuel costs, which may lead to lower prices for consumers.

The SuperTruck I initiative, launched by the DOE back in 2010, led to more than 20 fuel-saving technologies now available on the commercial market.

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