Last week, President Obama visited the Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) manufacturing facility in Mount Holly, North Carolina, where he announced a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles in communities around the country.
DTNA is a partner in the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative, which is focused on increasing the fuel efficiency of long haul trucks (aka, 18-wheelers) by 50 percent by 2015.
While these particular trucks represent only 4 percent of the on-road vehicles in America, they are responsible for almost 20 percent of the country’s on-road fuel consumption, and this class of vehicle currently consumes more than 30 billion gallons of gasoline each year.
In order to achieve the SuperTruck imitative goal, companies like Daimler are developing and improving a number of vehicle technologies, including engine efficiency, aerodynamics waste heat recovery and hybridization. Through these types of improvements, the Energy Department estimates fuel economy increases could save long-haul truckers more than $15,000 per truck per year in fuel costs. (In an earlier post, I reported that MIT researchers also have identified significant cost savings for businesses that use electric vehicles to make deliveries on an everyday basis in big cities.) (more…)