A show of green

Green was the theme at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis this year, prominent in three distinct areas: design and construction, fuel type and economy, and post-use recycling and disposal.

May 10, 2011
by Howard J Elmer


Green was the theme at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis this year. Green technology was prominent in three distinct areas: design and construction, fuel type and economy, and post-use recycling and disposal.

Hino was one of the first to show off its newly designed Class 4 and 5 diesel-electric hybrid cab-over trucks now coming to the North American market. This fully integrated diesel electric features a next-generation four-cylinder J05 Series engine that makes over 200hp. This engine feeds the electric system and is in turn supplemented by the electric motors as needed. This Hino has a new roomy cab, and 33-inch frame rails specifically aimed at the North American upfitters market.

A Freightliner M2 chassis equipped with a BAE parallel hybrid system was also shown. Specifically designed for medium and HD truck applications, this parallel system is the latest version of the company’s HybriDrive system. This green propulsion system is aimed at truck businesses that require frequent start-stop operations.

Ford showed its all-electric Transit Connect, intended for city route deliveries.

Ford was also on hand with its F-450 Super-Duty truck. While this truck has been on the market for close to a year now, Ford is stressing that its new 6.7L diesel meets or exceeds all current emissions standards and this engine’s fuel economy has improved 20 percent over the previous generation Power Stroke. Also of note is this engine can use B-20 biodiesel; this fuel cuts emissions even further.

Ford also showed its all-electric, zero emission Transit Connect van. With a range of up to 130km, it’s aimed at fleets with well-defined, predictable daily routes. Certainly this vehicle has great potential for city use, using a central location for daily recharging. The battery electric powertrain in the Connect is built by Azure Dynamics.

Looking at the delivery/van business, Freightliner is moving forward with its all-electric walk-in van design. The FCCC MT45-EV is an Enova electric drive system in a purpose-built lightweight, aerodynamic van body. This body was designed by Morgan-Olsen who was charged with making it slip through the air.

Freightliner has also upfitted a van body onto its parallel hybrid M2-106 chassis. Using an Eaton parallel electric drive hybrid system, this van promises to improve fuel economy in urban drive-cycle applications.

Freightliner is going green using natural gas conversion technology on some of its trucks.

For larger and longer range service Freightliner also showed an M2-112 stake body truck powered by natural gas. Equipped with a Cummins-Westport engine and a high-volume CNG tank mounted at the back of the cab, this truck is suitable for a wide range of uses—without any range issues.

GM, which has scaled back its medium-duty truck business, nevertheless showed a Chevy 8600 GVW cargo van upfitted with a factory installed engine capable of running on compressed natural gas. The interesting point with this vehicle is that it uses a PCI/Natural Drive fuel system, built by GM and covered by a full factory OEM warranty.

International is touting the fact that its E-Star medium-duty truck is the first all-electric vehicle to receive EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification as a clean fuel fleet vehicle. This Class 2-3 truck has an electric-only range of up to 160km.

International’s WorkStar is now being offered as a CNG powered truck. This factory installed ESI Phoenix 7.6L CNG engine is based on the MaxxForce DT engine.

Kenworth was also on hand with a variety of mid-size trucks capable of a variety of upfits.

Kenworth is also getting into the parallel electric hybrid business with a new system being offered on its T370 truck. Powered by a Paccar PX-6 diesel engine and an Eaton parallel electric transmission, this combination is said to improve fuel economy by up to 25 percent in local haul applications.

Another application of the Eaton parallel hybrid system is found on the Peterbilt 330 series chassis. The truck at the show was equipped with a Supreme 20-foot van body. Again the prediction is that fuel economy will improve significantly in city P&D operations.

Ram Trucks was on hand to announce that it would now offer a cargo van as part of its Ram brand. This new Ram Cargo Van—Ram C/V—features new solid sliding-door and rear quarter window privacy panels; but because commercial customers have different needs, several option combinations of solid and glass panels will be available. All vans will get an aluminum rear load floor either as a flat, uninterrupted, high-capacity surface or an optional through-the-floor access to two storage bins and tie-downs. Inside, the body holds 144 cubic feet of cargo.

Ram C/V offers 816kg of cargo payload and towing of up to 1,633kg. A 76-litre fuel tank and 7.9L/100 km highway rating will deliver a driving range of over 960km. The van is built with commercial-tuned ride and heavy-duty load-levelling suspension; a HD radiator, HD transmission oil cooler, hydraulic power-assist rack-and-pinion steering, front anti-sway bar and rear twist-beam axle with coil springs. Ram C/V has a GCWR of 3,969kg.

Powering the 2012 van is the new, 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine mated to a smooth-shifting, six-speed automatic transmission. It makes 283hp and 260lb-ft of torque. A driver-selectable fuel economizer mode is also included.

Ram Cargo Van options include a media centre with 30GB hard drive and 6.5-inch touch-screen display, Garmin navigation system, back-up camera, a Mopar cargo compartment floor mat, Mopar exterior vinyl window shading, a Mopar full-width cargo divider, power eight-way driver’s seat with lumbar adjust, second- and third-row power windows, security alarm and SIRIUS satellite radio. These are available now.