Trucks, Volvo

The Driveline of a SuperTruck

The Driveline of a SuperTruck

When the goal is to get the lowest fuel consumption possible, the driveline of a SuperTruck is extremely important, reckons PowerTorque’s European Correspondent, Will Shiers.

Under the truck’s shrunken hood sits a 325hp 11-litre diesel engine. This engine was deemed suitable, given that SuperTruck 2 has a GCW of 29.5 tonnes. Whereas diesel engines normally operate with a thermal efficiency 45 per cent, the target for SuperTruck 2 was 55 per cent.

In order to achieve this, it underwent numerous changes, including fixed geometry turbocharging, a higher peak pressure and a smaller after-treatment system. Friction was reduced wherever possible, with new oil and piston rings. The powertrain features a 48V micro hybrid system.

And because it eliminates the belt drive, the coolant pumps and fan motor run only when needed, improving engine efficiency by reducing parasitic losses. All the accessories are electrically driven, which has the added benefit of creating a clean air flow beneath the prime mover.

The engine is matched to a regular I-Shift transmission, and powers a single drive axle. The truck’s chassis features lightweight aluminium chassis rails, built by partner Metalsa.

The Interior

You access SuperTruck 2’s interior via electrically operated fold-out steps towards the rear of the cab. It’s more akin to walking into a motorhome than climbing into a truck.

“Moving it here allowed us to remove the split in the A-pillar that you get with a conventional door, and meant we didn’t have to deal with an opening door right at the curvature of the windshield,” explains Colton Kidd, who was lead builder on the truck. He says this one-point access allows drivers to board easily and safely while carrying a bag.

The Driveline of a SuperTruck
Image: Volvo

Once inside, you are greeted with what resembles an aeroplane cockpit.

Sat in the driver’s seat, you are immediately struck by the superb visibility. You can’t see the hood, and it would be easy to see even the smallest of pedestrians in front of the truck.

Although the driver sits more inboard than usual, the decision was made not to give SuperTruck 2 a central seating position. Kidd says it was considered, but was dismissed early on due to feedback from operators, who wanted it to feel familiar to drivers.

The speedometer and essential dials are located directly in front of the driver, and there’s a large screen located towards the centre of the dashboard. Buttons and switches are minimal, giving it an uncluttered, simplistic feel.

Kidd tells us that the truck has been designed for the ‘long haul driver of the future’, who it is assumed will want to be at home every night. This explains the lack of a bunk. It does however have a passenger seat that wouldn’t look out of place in an aeroplane’s business class cabin.

“It’s not designed to be out on the road for days or weeks at a time,” explains Kidd. “But with the convertible passenger seat you have the ability to lower it completely flat, and rest as needed.”

 

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