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Volvo Group North America (VGNA) announced that it was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck 3 Program and will receive more than $18 million in federal funding to develop technologies that advance the industry’s adoption of regional-haul, heavy-duty zero-emission electrified trucks in the United States. VGNA will also invest matching dollars towards the program. The announcement marks the third SuperTruck Program that Volvo Group North America has participated in since the program’s inception in 2009.
VGNA’s SuperTruck 3 proposal was developed to meet several DOE objectives and targets significant breakthroughs in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) freight solutions to serve logistics operations for the company’s manufacturing plants along a 400-mile route spanning several mid-Atlantic states in the U.S.
The proposed scope detailed five routes operating along different mileages, payload capacities, tractor specifications for Class 8 vehicles, and high-power charging solutions. Several external partners are anticipated to be included in the program, ranging from dealers and customers to suppliers and third-party research partners.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) initially launched the SuperTruck initiative in 2009, aimed at improving heavy-duty truck freight efficiency by 50%, while the follow-up SuperTruck 2 in 2016 sought to double vehicle efficiency for Class 8 trucks. Volvo’s first SuperTruck demonstrator vehicle exceeded the first SuperTruck goal, and the company is on track with its SuperTruck 2 project to more than double Class 8 vehicle payload-per-mile per gallon for productivity gains, as well as improved fuel efficiency, the company noted in a press release.
EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office are partnering on the SuperTruck 3 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to offer up to $100 million in funding over four years—subject to appropriations—to pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts that achieve even higher efficiency and lower emissions. The funding focuses on a range of approaches to electrification—all-electric, plug-in hybrid systems using renewable biofuels, and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, including hybridization strategies, such as fuel-cell range extenders.
The SuperTruck 3 Program is expected to launch later this year with program objectives to be achieved within a four-year period. The multiple phases of the project will include simulation and evaluation of concepts, concept selection and development, and pilot vehicle production, vehicle testing and analysis against the project targets.