Volvo Trucks North America has revealed its innovative SuperTruck unit has achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88 per cent, exceeding the 50 per cent improvement goal set by the US Department of Energy (DOE) program.

“With the support of DOE’s SuperTruck program, Volvo Trucks has presented an exciting vision of trucking’s future,” said Göran Nyberg, President of Volvo Trucks North America.

“Even more impressive is the fact that these tremendous gains were made against a base model Volvo that already in 2009 averaged seven miles per gallon.

According to Volvo, the SuperTruck’s combination of advanced aerodynamics, and innovative vehicle and powertrain technologies helped exceed the DOE’s target.

Features including the truck’s top-of-cab solar panels powering its battery and interior lights, to its ultra-light aluminium frame and 425 horsepower 11-litre proprietary engine allowed Volvo engineers to push the boundaries of heavy truck efficiency.

The tractor-trailer combination boosted fuel efficiency by 70 per cent – exceeding 12 miles  (19km/3.78 litres) per gallon, with some test runs showing more than 13 miles per gallon – in road tests, and powertrain brake thermal efficiency reached 50 per cent.

The SuperTruck program was a five-year DOE research and development initiative to improve freight efficiency – meaning more payload carried while burning less fuel – by 50 per cent compared to 2009 base model trucks.

The DOE recently selected the Volvo Group to participate in DOE’s SuperTruck II program, which will target a 100 per cent improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis, and a powertrain capable of 55 per cent brake thermal efficiency.

“Our work through this program is paying dividends for today’s customers through the SuperTruck innovations we’ve already integrated into our products,” Nyberg said.