Iconic Swedish truck maker Volvo has unveiled its version of the SuperTruck, a futuristic, heavy-duty vehicle that vastly improves fuel and freight efficiency. In response to an initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Volvo SuperTruck – which could increase the fuel economy of 18-wheelers from about 6 mpg to more than 10 mpg – was developed with ExxonMobil engineers and other collaborators.
Making up only 4 percent of the highway traffic, heavy-duty vehicles consume almost 20 percent of all fuel. And ExxonMobil forecasts that long term, these trucks will become the largest energy-consuming segment of the transportation sector.
How significant are these technological strides?
The DOE estimates that replacing all heavy-duty trucks currently on U.S. roads with SuperTrucks would slash oil consumption by as much as 300 million barrels per year, saving truck operators nearly $20 billion in annual fuel costs.
About 80 percent of the goods that fill American stores and 70 percent of all freight tonnage is hauled by heavy-duty tractor-trailers.