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Volvo's SuperTruck concept vehicle

The future of fuel efficiency

Volvo’s SuperTruck Concept Vehicle


In 2011, we began the SuperTruck project, a five-year challenge set before us by the U.S. Department of Energy to create a truck that improves freight efficiency by 50 percent. This is the Volvo SuperTruck.

12+ miles per gallon

Exceeding 12 miles per gallon fuel efficiency in road tests

88% more freight efficiency

Greater freight efficiency vs. 50% DOE target goal

70% more fuel

More fuel efficient compared with baseline 2009 model Volvo VNL 670

Volvo SuperTruck driving down a road near a forest

The Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck program is a cost-shared, public-private partnership that promotes research and development to improve the freight-hauling efficiency of heavy-duty Class 8 long-haul tractor-trailer trucks. The program aims to help accelerate the development of advanced efficiency technologies that are not currently available in the market.

Volvo SuperTruck driving on a road surrounded by trees

Our Process

Volvo’s SuperTruck concept was designed and built using a complete vehicle approach, optimizing the tractor, trailer, and powertrain to work together as one highly efficient system.

Volvo SuperTruck driving on a bridge over a river

The Goals

Challenge accepted. Volvo created an ultra fuel-efficient truck for the Department of Energy (DOE) SuperTruck program. The goal was to dramatically increase freight efficiency and reduce carbon emissionsby pushing the limits of fuel efficiency for Class 8 on-highway tractors.

Volvo SuperTruck on a bridge

Explore the SuperTruck’s Lightweight Design

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Chassis and Aerodynamics

By re-examining every component of the truck, Volvo Trucks was able to reduce the SuperTruck's weight by over 3,200 lbs.

SuperTruck Inspired Innovations In Your Volvo Truck

Aerodynamic Enhancements

SuperTruck contributed to enhancements to the bumper, chassis and roof fairings of VNL series highway tractors beginning in model year 2016. The enhancements help reduce air turbulence around the vehicle exterior and improve airflow under the truck, around tires and the trailer gap. Reducing turbulence and disruptions in airflow from the tractor to the trailer helps improve fuel efficiency.

Turbo Compounding

The SuperTruck program enabled Volvo engineers to refine the mechanics and aerodynamics of the new geartrain and turbine, ensuring peak efficiency in the “sweet spot” for Volvo’s integrated powertrain solution.

A new turbo compounding system was designed to recover this normally wasted energy on the 2017 Volvo D13 with Turbo Compound, helping boost fuel efficiency by up to 6.5 percent.

The patented wave piston, working in combination with Volvo’s other engine enhancements, delivers improved fuel efficiency of up to 2.2 percent for the D11 and 2.5 percent for the D13.

Learn how the D13 engine will save you fuel costs.

Wave Piston

The SuperTruck program enabled extensive research of a typical combustion chamber and provided Volvo engineers the opportunity to test a new piston design. This new design added “wave” bumps on the side of the piston bowl, which allows the fuel to burn more cleanly.

Read more about the fuel efficiency of our D11 engine.

Common-Rail Fuel Injection System

Through the SuperTruck program, the fuel injection system was optimized to match the new wave piston. Extensive engine testing and simulations led to an injector with enhanced flow rate, spray angle and pressure characteristics that allow the engine to operate more quietly and burn fuel more efficiently.

A proven common-rail fuel injection system was adapted to Volvo’s 2017 D11 and D13 engines. It enables a higher injection pressure, which improves combustion, and allows for finer control of the injection event.

Read more about the advanced technology in Volvo's powertrain.