Work Truck Show 2020 Ntea 620bac88b42af

A look ahead to Work Truck Week 2022

Feb. 15, 2022
The four-day in-person event aims to surge the work truck industry with insights into chassis spec'ing and truck upfitting, electrification adoption and maintenance, and more—starting off with a bang with trades advocate Mike Rowe presenting the keynote.

After going virtual in 2021, Work Truck Week 2022NTEA’s annual event for the work truck industry, returns to the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis March 8-11. North America’s largest work truck event will be the first chance since 2020 that many of the stakeholders in the vocational and last-mile segments can meet in person and learn about the equipment they need to do their jobs. About 500 exhibitors are expected to display their products on the show floor.

According to NTEA’s managing director, Kevin Koester, “registrations are going strong” due to pent-up demand after the year off. The 2020 show was held just prior to COVID-19 lockdowns taking place.

“People are ready to stop clicking mouses and start shaking hands again,” Koester said. They will also get to open the hood and crawl under the chassis, as opposed to settling for publicity stills and virtual webinars.

See also: Ford E-Transit shipments begin from KC plant

Show attendees also will get a chance to flag down experts after the show’s highest attended sessions, the OEM chassis sessions, or speak to an engineer at length at the booth afterwards. Some educational sessions that hit on the latest trends include fleet right-sizing, the supply chain and chip shortages, and dealing with the secondary market.

Mike Rowe, host of “Dirty Jobs” and all-around rock star advocate for trades, will keynote on Wednesday, March 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. When he spoke in 2009, it was to a sold-out crowd, so be sure to get there early.

Koester said there’s nobody better than Rowe to provide the keynote as the industry gets ready to get back to business in a big way.

“I don't know that I've ever seen an episode of ‘Dirty Jobs’ where there wasn't a work truck,” he noted. “Mike Rowe is grounded, down-to-earth, and the type of person who we want to have represent the work truck industry—not just speak to us, but represent us.”

Focus on electrification

A big change will be the focus on electrification, Koester said: “Whereas green technology was a side dish in previous years, it is a little bit more of the main course this go around—particularly on the electric side.”

There will be plenty to devour on both the OEM and aftermarket sides, spurred by electric vehicles gaining more maturity, companies pushing toward lower emission goals, and the promise of more funding from the government following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. More than 20 manufacturers are slated to show off electric vehicle chassis, bodies, equipment, and tools for the segment.

This includes Chevrolet publicly revealing the 2024 Silverado EV all-electric pickup truck on the exhibit floor, as well as Morgan Truck Body showing off its electric vehicle dry freight and refrigerated truck body concepts.

See also: Sales of upfitted work trucks rose 11% in 2021, despite inventory challenges

“I don't know that there's been a propulsion type that's had this type of focus short of diesel engines first coming out,” Koester asserted. “It is such a massive component of the show and people's frame of mind right now. There are a lot of solutions that are in development and that have been developed.”

And he noted even in the past few years, the industry has gained several insights into how electric work trucks respond to the demands of the job. This is particularly crucial for the segment, due to the variation of bodies and upfitting options.

“Everybody has a passenger car and knows what that duty cycle looks like,” Koester explained. “In our space, there are 1,000 versions of a truck that are all massively different from each other.”

The Green Truck Summit, which kicks off the event on March 8, will drill down on this topic. A panel made up of experts from FreightlinerAltec, and Adrian Steel Co. will discuss upfitting concerns on EVs.

Koester said right now there “is a lack of awareness” concerning how complex something as simple as installing a PTO can be, due to the altered anatomy. This requires asking a lot of questions that were known with diesel and gas powertrains.

“Am I drilling into places on the frame that are going to get my guys electrocuted?” Koester asked.

Green Truck Summit will also feature four 20-minute breakout sessions covering:

  • How key industry segments are reaching zero emissions
  • EV incentive and grant opportunities
  • EV maintenance
  • Green product updates

“Historically, these types of sessions would be set up have fleets talk about electric vehicles, or compressed natural gas,” Koester said. “What we're doing that afternoon is saying, ‘There is no silver bullet. You're a fleet; tell us how you’re getting to zero emissions,' as opposed to talking about this one type of technology.”

Koester also highlighted how vital understanding the maintenance of EVs will be.

“Just because there's no dipstick in it doesn't mean there's no maintenance,” he offered. “And giving people a good understanding of the impacts and the requirements of maintaining an electric vehicle will be [important] as they propagate in the industry and start to hit the road.”

To receive a badge, attendees must provide proof of vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID test (within 72 hours), or complete a quick health screening survey. View the WTW22 Health and Safety Protocols here.

This article originally appeared on Fleet Maintenance.

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor

John Hitch, based out of Cleveland, Ohio, is the editor of Fleet Maintenance, a B2B magazine that addresses the service needs for all commercial vehicle makes and models (Classes 1-8), ranging from shop management strategies to the latest tools to enhance uptime.

He previously wrote about equipment and fleet operations and management for FleetOwner, and prior to that, manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician aboard a nuclear-powered submarine.

For tips, questions or comments, email [email protected].

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