Trucking takes a step forward with new efficient concept

Trucking fleet managers will have a number of concerns when running the large vehicles, including high fuel consumption and less than stellar sustainability. However, trucks can be improved - and that's exactly what Freightliner has accomplished.

Let's take a look at what could very well be the future of the trucking industry, and what another manufacturer is doing to ensure the industry remains focused on sustainable driving. Fleet managers will certainly want to pay attention.

The future of trucking

Back in 2009, the US Department of Energy issued a challenge to truck manufacturers: build a truck that's at least 50 per cent more freight efficient than current models, with an engine that shows at least 50 per cent brake thermal efficiency.

Freightliner, which is part of the larger Daimler Group, stepped up to the challenge, delivering a vehicle this year that meets the project goals - and then some.

The Freightliner SuperTruck can travel 12.2 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel (more than half of what most other trucks can manage) and is 115 per cent more freight-efficient.

The truck also has a host of other useful features, including an articulating grill that opens during low speed (as well as in high-torque conditions) to ensure cooling, and closes when the truck speeds up.

Both organisations put US$40 million into the project, which is certainly no small sum - however the benefits are definitely worth the development cost. This truck can serve as a model for other manufacturers of what the industry should strive for over the next few years.

"From top to bottom, the Freightliner SuperTruck is an extreme example of what can be done in the pursuit of peak efficiency," the Freightliner website explained.

Another contender

Freightliner isn't the only truck manufacturer focused on efficiency - Volvo has also come forward with a new vision for trucking. The hybrid vehicle created by the company can carry up to 26 tonnes, and uses a 7-litre diesel engine to power the truck and an electric engine to bring the vehicle up to speed.

What's more, this truck can also trim distribution fuel consumption by 20 per cent, and CO2 emissions by 30 per cent, Volvo states.

These are just the first of many highly efficient trucks, and there are sure to be more models over the next few years as stricter requirements come into play surrounding fuel consumption and emissions.