Navistar Corp.
The CatalIST Navisar39s SuperTruck project has achieved fuel efficiency of 13 miles per gallon

Moving toward freight ton efficiency together

April 5, 2018
All of us need to work together to move toward of future with better freight ton efficiency and near zero emissions.

Last week I presented our Run on Less findings to the government industry meeting of the 21st Century Truck Partnership.  I first worked with this group back in 2007, when I represented Navistar and helped construct some of the early documentation that pushed SuperTruck to approval.  Very impressive group working hard to progress truck technologies.

A few weeks earlier, I was pleased to hear reports of Michael Berube, director of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office, speech at the recent Green Truck Summit. Berube talked about how DOE has a bigger vision for itself as well as for its 21st Century Truck Partnership program. CTP’s goal, according to Berube, is to have trucks and buses that can safely and cost-effectively move larger volumes of freight and greater numbers of passengers with increased energy efficiency, productivity and reliability while containing costs.

I like the part about cost effectively moving larger volumes of freight. While fleets tend to focus on miles per gallon, I would like to see the conversation move to talking about freight ton efficiency and that is what Berube is talking about. As I mentioned in my recent blog about our involvement with Shell’s Starship project, freight ton efficiency is basically MPG times tons of payload.

Freight ton efficiency requires not only making the trucks themselves more fuel efficient, but also looking at things like getting more payload on a truck and optimizing routes traveled to increase efficiency.

In his speech, Berube talked about both diesel powered and electric powered vehicles. While we all see electric vehicles on the horizon for certain applications, diesel powered trucks are not going completely away any time soon. This means we need to keep working on improving their freight efficiency. With electric vehicles, the industry needs to work toward options that meet customers’ need at lower costs than currently predicted.

The takeaway here is that regardless of whether you are a truck or trailer manufacturer, component manufacturer, developer of add-on fuel efficiency devices, a company from outside the trucking industry that is bringing something new to trucking or a fleet all of us need to work together to move toward of future with better freight ton efficiency and near zero emissions.

I am excited about NACFE’s role in trucking’s future and look forward to see the gains we can collectively achieve.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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