Trucks On The Runway

Advanced technologies help truck manufacturers roll out products offering higher operational efficiencies.


Why would people want a truck with a 150 horsepower or 200 horsepower engine—rather than the 400 horsepower found in conventional truck engines, Bloom posits. “The answer is you need to look at how efficiently you are delivering from point to point,” he says. “Of course these truck can go up to 75 mph—that is a given. You will get about 20 percent better fuel economy than our previous vehicle, which generally got better fuel economy than the domestics. We are also going to extend the standard service intervals of the vehicle to 18,000 miles so you don’t have to change your oil for 18,000 miles.” The theoretical savings in scheduled maintenance and increased fuel economy could be as high as $2,500 a year—or up to $10,000 over a four- or five-year term. The five-year/175,000-mile warranty is transferable, so the residual value of the trucks will be higher, adds Bloom.

 

Better Fuel Economy

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. just unveiled its newest commercial van—the Reach earlier this month. The new vehicle has a body, designed and built by Utilimaster Corp., that sits on an Isuzu 12,000-pound GVWR NPR ECO-MAX chassis and is powered by a biodiesel fuel compatible 4JJ1-TC 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine generating 150 horsepower.

The engine employs SCR technology, reducing NOx emissions by over 85 percent, making the vehicle EPA-2010 compliant and California Air Resources Board (CARB) OBDII compliant. The company claims the Reach will get 35 percent better fuel economy than a traditional commercial van. It offers the functionality of a custom-built work truck with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van. Production is scheduled to begin this summer.

According to the company, the Reach’s frame, suspension, steering and braking systems are true commercial-grade. The Utilimaster design provides more interior height and width than other commercial vans and Isuzu will offer a variety of design options to maximize utility and driver productivity. The Isuzu chassis has the engine relocated to minimize engine protrusion into the cab, making it easier for drivers to move in and out of the front seat.

Isuzu’s popular N-series low-cab-forward design has a new truck that will offer drivers greater maneuverability, says Brian Tabel, retail marketing manager for Isuzu in Anaheim, CA. “This is our best feature, especially for the food industry, because delivery trucks have to pull into and out of very tight areas when they are delivering food products.”

The new N-Series truck, equipped with a 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel engine providing the 12,000-pound GVWR ECO-MAX for better fuel economy over its predecessor, has a B10 durability rating of 310,000 miles, meaning that 90 percent of these engines will reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul. Its SCR technology assures better fuel economy over the previous Isuzu model.

The trucks can range from 12-feet long to 18-feet long and offer more cargo space than previous models. The increased load capacity on the front axle offers operators the ability to carry more weight inside the truck. The company also increased the turning radius on all of its trucks. Easy access to the engine through the full 45-degree tilt-cab function facilitates quicker service.

A new feature for Isuzu truck owners is the ability to get a ‘health report’ that offers a view into how trucks are being operated, reports Tabel. “Truck owners can bring their truck into any Isuzu dealer throughout the country. Say you have a driver on one route who is getting 14 mpg, while another driver using the same truck is getting only 10 mpg. We can diagnose the truck to find out why as we determine the severity of brake stops, for instance. We can also report on whether the truck is being idled for too long, if there is excessive braking or acceleration, or if there is excessive throttling. Fleet managers can have a better understanding of how their trucks are being operated out on the road.”

 

Right-sized For The Industry

Workhorse reports that its W62 model chassis has been updated. “This new model is equipped with a GM 6.0 liter engine, which means our customers will get about a 20-percent fuel economy improvement over the prior gas engine,” says Dan Cutter, director of sales and distribution for the Warrenville, IL-based company. The reason behind this enhanced efficiency, explains Cutter, is due to the lower displacement engine coupled with horsepower that is more appropriate. “It is right-sized for the industry.”

This stripped chassis works perfectly for the snack and bakery industry, says Cutter. “Owners can choose to put a step-van on the chassis. It ranges from 17,000 GVW to 23,500 GVW and can accommodate a step-van body anywhere from 16-feet long and 24-feet long. We also offer the option for customers to have a ramp installed, which aids in the delivery process.” Cutter adds that Workhorse is seeing a migration to this heavier GVW step-van, with a larger cube space able to carry more products and hold more weight.

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