About Future Truck


FutureTruck is a unique five-year engineering program that brings together the resources of industry, government, and academia in a cooperative effort to address important environmental and energy-related issues posed by the growing demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs). FutureTruck is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Ford Motor Company, and a variety of other sponsors and is managed by Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research.

The FutureTruck 2004 competition challenges teams of students from 15 top North American universities to continue reengineering a conventional, mid-size Ford Explorer into a lower-emissions vehicle with at least 25% higher fuel economy, without sacrificing the performance, utility, safety, and affordability consumers want. To meet these challenges, students employ cutting-edge automotive technologies, including advanced propulsion systems, lightweight materials, and alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, ethanol, and biodiesel. All of the teams in are implementing hybrid electric design strategies: an internal combustion engine with a battery and electric motor.

Teams will go to go to Ford's Michigan Proving Ground in June 2004 to undergo a comprehensive safety evaluation followed by dynamic testing and static design events. The vehicles will be judged in more than a dozen events that evaluate their technical performance (acceleration, trailer towing, off-road handling, and on-road fuel economy) and static design (consumer acceptability, engineering design review, and oral technical presentation). To encourage teams to develop technologies that reduce total cycle greenhouse gas emissions, FutureTruck also includes an event that measures "upstream fuel-cycle emissions" (caused during the production and delivery of a fuel) and dynamometer emissions measurements. Ford's Allen Park Test Laboratory will evaluate the tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions of the FutureTruck vehicles.

Who Is Involved?

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy partnered with Ford Motor Company as the headline sponsors of FutureTruck 2002, 2003, and 2004. Ford provided the Explorer SUVs that the teams are modifying, almost $275,000 in seed and prize money, engineering consulting, competition facilities, and operational support. DOE provided competition management, team evaluation, and technical and logistical support through Argonne National Laboratory.

FutureTruck 2003 was a tremendous success because of the enthusiastic participation of more than 300 students (mechanical and electrical engineering, computer science, and other disciplines) from 15 dedicated teams; 17 sponsors providing hardware, software, training, and support; and hundreds of devoted organizers, judges, and volunteers.

In the final year of this unique partnership, Ford and DOE are once again joining their support to provide an unparalleled engineering experience for hundreds of young engineers. By exposing these students to new and existing technologies and challenging them with tough engineering and program obstacles, Ford, DOE, and other sponsors are helping to produce a new generation of trained automotive engineers with real-world experience and leadership and teamwork skills in a variety of disciplines.

Sponsors joining Ford and DOE to support FutureTruck 2004 are:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Delphi
  • The MathWorks
  • ArvinMeritor
  • National Instruments
  • Visteon
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • BP
  • Michigan Proving Ground
  • Allen Park Test Laboratory
  • Dana Corporation
  • Motorola
  • Aluminum Association
  • Ricardo, Inc.
  • AAA Michigan

In the first two years of the competition (2000-2001), working with headline sponsor General Motors Corporation, FutureTruck teams modified Chevrolet Suburbans. The teams produced some significant results during these years.



  Argonne National Laboratory

FutureTruck Logo



Point of Contact: David Irick (phone: 865-974-0863, dki@utk.edu)