Trucks at Work

A fresh look at … well, everything!

Perhaps one of the more interesting trends I’m noticing here at the National Truck Equipment Association’s 2013 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis is the “fresh look” being given to the tried and true business of operating commercial vehicle fleets.

I mean, let’s face it: trucks are designed to move goods, tools, or people from point A to point B in the most cost efficient manner possible. And that’s where the “fresh look” comes in, for fleets and suppliers alike are re-examining that most basic of operational schemes to see if better cost savings can be achieved by switching to different fuels or even different vehicles.

Let’s take Ford Motor Co.’s new full-size Transit van for starters. As Chris Brewer – the OEM’s chief nameplate engineer for the Transit program – notes below, this new vehicle platform is designed to provide many more options, from roof heights and vehicle lengths on down to engine selection.

[You can read more about what Ford is doing in the commercial truck segment by clicking here.]

Getting all the various commercial vehicle components to work together better with greater efficiency represents another part of this “fresh look” effort.

Take for example some of the new powertrain concepts Eaton Corp. is working on, as detailed by Mihai “Mike” Dorobatu – the company’s director of vehicle technologies and innovation – in the video below.

Yet the “fresh look” isn’t necessarily restricted to newfangled technologies or new truck models.

In one of the more interesting presentations at Green Truck Summit held simultaneously with the 2013 Work Truck Show, Tim Campbell – managing director for Campbells LTD based in merrie olde England – called upon fleet managers to re-examine the possible benefits of switching to smaller diesel engines; models he dubbed “balanced diesels” as they provide more horsepower, torque and fuel savings than their comparable gasoline-fueled brethren.

All of the above just represents the tip of the commercial truck iceberg, if you will, in terms of the “fresh look” being given to the fleet business these days – so we’ll see what else gets revealed as the Work Truck Show progresses this week.

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