Navistar Says Its SuperTruck Doubles Department of Energy's Freight Efficiency Goal

Demonstration vehicle called CatalIST said to achieve freight-efficiency improvement of 104%, already sending technology to production trucks

Navistar SuperTruck Test Comp 04 fi 57ec45827a458
International Navistar Logo 10442743

Navistar says its SuperTruck demonstration vehicle, called CatalIST, achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 104% compared to the control vehicle, more than doubling the 50% improvement goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the SuperTruck program.

Navistar says the vehicle achieved fuel efficiency of 13 miles per gallon, and demonstrated 50.3% Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) and a path towards 55% BTE.

The last three letters of the vehicle's name, the CatalIST, stand for "International SuperTruck," referencing the company's International commercial truck brand. The "CatalIST" concept underscores the company's conviction that innovations achieved through the program will serve as the catalyst for significant improvements in future commercial vehicles.

"A number of the technology innovations we have achieved through the program are already being implemented in production vehicles today," said Mark Stasell, vice president, product development.

Stasell pointed to Navistar's predictive cruise control technology as one example of a significant technical innovation the company achieved through the program. Predictive cruise control looks ahead of the vehicle and recognizes the terrain and continuously calculates the most efficient speed and gear for optimal fuel economy in real time. Unlike conventional predictive cruise technology, the company's predictive cruise control uses preinstalled GPS maps and the latest commercial route data to make adjustments to cruising speed without the need to pre-drive the route.

Other technologies include:

  • Advanced integration of Navistar N13 Engine utilizing proprietary intelligent controls and high efficiency combustion.
  • Reduction in aerodynamic drag through replacement of cab- and hood-mounted mirrors with a series of cameras and interior-mounted monitors, which also yield equal or better indirect vision for the driver.
  • A new LED headlamp system that reduces lamp size for a more aerodynamic shape and cuts electrical power requirements by greater than 80%, while improving luminous output and light color for improved night-time direct driver vision and reduced driver fatigue.
  • An all-new shape with a sloped windshield and wedged cab for improved aerodynamics. Innovative use of lighter-weight carbon-fiber panels in the upper body, roof headers, back panel, and dash panel.
  • A hybrid front suspension and lightweight rear suspension that leverages lightweight alloys with composite materials, reducing weight and enabling an electronic ride height management system, which provides dynamic ride height and pitch control for improved aerodynamics.
  • Aerodynamic improvements that reduce the trailer's drag coefficient by more than 30%.

The DOE's SuperTruck program, a five-year-long research and development initiative, focused on improving freight efficiency, a measure of the payload carried while burning less fuel, versus 2009 base model trucks. Its objective is to develop and demonstrate a 50% improvement in overall freight efficiency on a heavy-duty Class 8 tractor-trailer vehicle as measured in ton-miles per gallon of diesel fuel.