I recently read an editorial by Carol Birkland, Editor in Chief of Fleet Equipment Magazine. Carol discussed the status of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technology Program (i.e. Super Truck Program) and the status of the program just over three years into the five year program.

First some Background:   According to the DOE, Class 8 trucks carry approximately 70% of all freight and use more than 20% of all fuel consumed in the U.S. The objective of the DOE program is to improve fuel mileage of these Class 8 trucks by 50%. With current fuel mileage between 5.5. to 6.5 MPG, a 50% increase could save about $25,000 annually (i.e. per truck) based on traveling 120,000 miles per year. This would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% for each truck.

The DOE program awarded between $20 to $40 million (i.e. each) to Cummins and Peterbilt, Navistar, Damlier Trucks North America and Volvo Group. The objective is to improve tractor and trailer efficiency by 30% and 20% improvement based on improved engine performance. The DOE also stipulated that each engine had to show an improvement of engine braking of 50%. According to Carol Birkland, based on the results so far, “it seems safe to say that significant headway is being made in creating more fuel-efficient vehicles for the future”.

Our team at eNow has been involved with the Super Truck Program with several of the above mentioned companies. Our objective has been to show how the energy we produce from our proprietary solar power system can be used to improve fuel mileage, by reducing the load on the alternator. We are also showing how our system can provide significant power for no-idle applications for applications such as, In-Cab HVAC, Safety Lighting, Lift Gate and Trailer Lift Systems, and Refrigeration Systems.

This is an exciting time to be in the transportation industry.