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Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge

Above: Increasing the efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks is the focus of the TRUCK Consortium

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are the backbone of freight transportation systems and vital to the economies in the United States and China. Announced in September 2015, the Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge (CERC TRUCK) consortium aims to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that will increase the fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. This can yield numerous benefits for both countries, including reduced emissions, improved air quality, reduced dependence on oil, and lower transport costs. Innovation in this area is expected to play an important role in enabling and facilitating a transition to low-carbon truck transport systems.

The consortium will work to build a foundation of knowledge, technologies, human capabilities, and relationships in mutually beneficial areas to position the United States and China as leaders in efficient, clean commercial truck technologies. The collaboration seeks to accelerate the advancement of clean truck technologies through joint research and development by leveraging the complementary strengths of each country’s intellectual and research capacities. This effort will help both countries create new jobs and bring new technologies into the market faster.

The consortium’s overarching technical goal is to develop cost-effective solutions to improve the on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by more than 50% compared to the 2016 baseline. Thomas Wallner from Argonne National Laboratory leads the U.S. consortium. Shu Gequn from Tianjin University leads the China consortium.

The U.S. and Chinese consortia have agreed to a Joint Work Plan (Bilingual PDF) to significantly advance fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in both China and the United States. U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to a Technology Management Plan (TMP) (Bilingual PDF) regarding intellectual property rights.

Research Focus Areas


Researchers are studying liquid fuel spark ignited systems, compression ignitions gasoline technology, and natural gas combustion systems to provide input to system-level evaluations to determine the best market and drive cycles for each technology in medium-duty trucks. Researchers aim to define vehicle-level targets and petroleum reduction potentials, conduct engine design studies, and select final hardware that is used ultimately for engine testing and validation.

For heavy-duty trucks, researchers are investigating the potential for low lifecycle carbon and dual-fuel operation used in low temperature combustion (LTC) systems, together with the potential for different waste heat recovery (WHR) technologies in heavy-duty trucks and aim to demonstrate the benefits of the fuels and WHR on multi-cylinder engines.


This research focus area aims to maximize fleet efficiency through advanced energy management at the vehicle, multi-vehicle, and fleet levels. U.S. and Chinese researchers are performing analysis to quantify and understand the market differences and the impact of predictive energy management; developing energy management methodologies optimized for trucks in U.S. and China markets; and studying the impact of a variety of driving scenarios and powertrain technologies. Researchers are focused on establishing a cloud-to-vehicle management platform, and implementing and evaluating multi vehicles and fleet energy management.


Researchers are focusing on all aspects of powertrain electrification and architectures with the aim to create a modular, flexible approach to the design of electrified powertrain vehicles ranging from EV to range-extended electric vehicles (REEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). U.S. and Chinese researchers are collaboratively studying powertrain architectures and conducting simulation and optimization studies to determine a modular architecture that takes into account flexibility of powertrain design, regional and vocational flexibility, and the tradeoffs in subsystem sizing, cost, and matching.


Researchers are focused on examining vehicle-level contributions that will increase freight efficiency and conducting vehicle fuel economy modeling and simulation to optimize for weight reduction, aerodynamic improvements, and tire technology improvements. A selection of candidate technologies for improving freight efficiency will be prototyped, fabricated or procured and evaluated, with the expectation that the most promising solutions are implemented and validated in a demonstration vehicle.


Drawing on the other focus areas, researchers will integrate the key technologies and learnings to demonstrate the efficiency improvement at the vehicle level. Researchers will assess and characterize a baseline demonstration vehicle evaluate promising technology candidates and assess these technologies individually and in aggregate to quantify their impact on vehicle efficiency and freight efficiency.

CERC TRUCK Partners (Headquarter Locations)

The CERC Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks Consortium currently includes the following U.S. members:

  • Lead:
  • Partners:
    • Aramco Services Company (Houston, TX)
    • Cummins Incorporated (Columbus, IN)
    • Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (Gaffney, SC)
    • The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
    • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) (Oak Ridge, TN)
    • Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)
    • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

The CERC Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks Consortium currently includes the following Chinese members:

  • Lead:
    • Tianjin University (Tianjin)
  • Partners:
    • China Automotive Engineering Research Institute Co., Ltd (Chongqing)
    • China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co., Ltd (CNHTC) (Jinan)
    • Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Group Co., Ltd (Yulin)
    • Tongji University (Shanghai)
    • Tsinghua University (Beijing)
    • Weichai Power of Weichai Group Listed Company (Shandong)