Sandwiched between the NFL Combine and the Men and Women’s NCAA Big Ten Tourney, Indianapolis played host to the NTEA Work Truck Show — the largest work truck event in North America that attracted more than 10,000 fleet managers, distributors, manufacturers and services providers.
When I woke up that morning to begin my trek south, I peeked out the window for my real-time forecast, and you guessed it, it was snowing. I knew right then it just felt right to get on my way. You see, last year, around the very same time in the calendar year, I made the journey to Indy, in a snowstorm. It seemed only fitting the, that I would have to “brave” some pesky elements.
But I digress. I always look forward to the Truck Show because of what it has to offer: the trade show floor, which features the latest and greatest in trucks, technology, and accessories; the educational seminars; the Green Truck Summit; the ride-along portion where you get a chance to test drive some of the latest trucks; and, of course, the people — hardworking and always happy to see you.
As I made my way cross the show floor here are some highlights I came back with:
• Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) recently partnered with UPS. The delivery company announced plans to purchase 1,000 propane package delivery trucks and install an initial 50 fueling stations at UPS locations. The investment in propane vehicles and infrastructure is approximately $70 million.
The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma with other states pending. The vehicles on these routes can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year.
Powertrain Integration, a leader in the on-highway engine industry, will equip 1,000 Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) medium duty delivery vehicles with propane autogas (LPG) powertrain packages for UPS. The packages consist of GM 6.0L V8 LC8 engines, CleanFuel USA Liquid Propane Injection (LPI) fuel systems, and Allison automatic transmissions. www.freightlinerchassis.com
"UPS bringing 1,000 of these units online is proof the medium duty sector has embraced the LC8 propane autogas engine as a gasoline and diesel replacement," said Powertrain Integration President Robert Pachla. "This is the biggest propane autogas adoption to medium duty delivery vehicles I've seen during my 30 years in the alternative fuel business; we look forward to imminent builds and ongoing support," Pachla added.
• Similar to the item above, ROUSH CleanTech unveiled the first propane autogas fueled Ford F-59 to serve FedEx Ground’s high mileage route in Buffalo. The owner of the vehicle, Jon Chase, CEO of Chase Delivery in Lancaster, N.Y., estimates his company will save more than $25,000 over the lifetime of the alternatively fueled delivery truck.
Already experiencing lower fuel and maintenance costs, Chase expects a less than three-year return on investment. Because of this, he encourages other FedEx Ground contractors to switch to propane autogas. Chase said that FedEx supports their contractors making emission reduction measures. www.roushcleantech.com
• Ram Commercial Vehicles includes the ProMaster van, which feature a high roof features an interior standard height of 76", allowing 6'4" workers move in comfort. Interior cargo space offers 530 cu. ft., with an interior payload capacity at 4,417 lbs.
Ram also showcased its smaller commercial vehicle, the Ram C/V Tradesman, a commercial vehicle that features up to 11.5 cu ft of class exclusive in-floor storage. www.ramtrucks.com
• Always a crowd pleaser, the Chevy Silverado features a boxed frame, larger axles and an available Max Trailering Package allow Silverado to offer a class-leading trailering capacity of up to 12,000 pounds. www.chevrolet.com
• All about conserving fuel on primarily city runs, Nissan showed off the concept e-NV200 features 100% electric Leaf tech, offering low cost of operation. www.nissanusa.com
• How about a tool charging station right out of your work truck? A cool company called Go Power! featured solar panels that you can place right onto the roof of your vehicle. These Solar Flex™ solar panels are designed to provide a powerful charging solution for batteries. According to the company, the panels use high-efficiency monocrystalline cells that produce more power per square foot than any other flat panel on the market. www.gpelectric.com
• Security is important on the jobsite. Reading Truck Body’s LatchMatic® Smart Shield is an updated passive security system available exclusively on the Reading CSV (Classic Service Van) with a LatchMatic package. Now you can lock and unlock your work truck compartments hands-free. www.readingbody.com