Building the ‘SuperTruck’: Cummins Takes Lead on Creating Fuel-Efficient Big Rigs

Engineer David Koeberlein will head to Texas this month to help test a new Cummins-powered, highly efficient SuperTruck.

Koeberlein, Cummins Inc.’s go-to guy for the project, will ride in the new vehicle as it powers a payload of about 65,000 pounds along a 270-mile stretch of U.S. 287 between Fort Worth and Vernon in central Texas. Koeberlein will collect and analyze data to make sure real-world results of the new SuperTruck match benchmarks set in a lab and a wind tunnel.

Cummins and more than a dozen other companies — including Peterbilt Motors Co., Bridgestone and VanDyne Super Turbo — are trying to increase a heavy-duty truck’s fuel economy by 50 percent. Success could mean $15,000 in annual fuel cost savings per truck — or millions of dollars in annual savings for large trucking fleets.

While big-rig trucks account for about 4 percent of on-road vehicles in the U.S., they consume about 20 percent of the fuel, Cummins said in its most recent Sustainability Report.