Fleetowner 30960 Powertrainopeningshot Web 0

What’s important in the proper vehicle spec?

July 24, 2018
From aerodynamics to transmissions to safety technology to driver comfort, there are many ways to spec your vehicles. But what's most important to you?

Safety, fuel efficiency, operating performance and driver comfort all have to be factored in when determining the proper spec for your vehicles.

Being as fuel efficient as possible is a major consideration so investments in aerodynamics usually pay off. But make sure aero devices make sense for a given application because they are not right in every situation. 

The engine-transmission-rear axle selection also play a role is fuel efficiency so those components need to be spec’d to align with specific duty cycles so they will function optimally together.

Automated transmissions serve a dual purpose. They usually provide better fuel economy — especially with inexperienced drivers — and they are less fatiguing to drive making them a good driver comfort spec.

Other driver comfort specs include upgraded cab interiors, Bluetooth/Sirius capable radios, as well as upgraded mattresses, refrigerators and APUs in sleepers. Also consider adding safety features like collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems, anti-rollover technology and smart cameras.

Given the current shortage, anything you can do to make the truck safer and more comfortable for your drivers can help attract and retain your driver workforce.

While it can be difficult to justify an investment in some of these technologies, it is likely that as time progresses many of these safety, fuel efficiency and driver comfort options will become standard on trucks and eventually everyone in the market will be looking for trucks with these key features. Consequently, trucks with these types of amenities and features will see increased value on the resale market so your investment is likely to be recouped that way.

When spec’ing safety-related features, another benefit could be deeper discounts from your insurance carrier. Enhanced safety features are designed to help reduce accidents and fewer accidents can result in a better insurance rating for your fleet and lower insurance premiums.

One point to remember when adding new technology to your trucks is to take time to train drivers on the proper operation so they understand how everything works so you can achieve the gains those components promise.

About the Author

Joseph Evangelist

Joseph is a seasoned transportation executive with domestic and international experience in sales, operations, mergers and acquisition with heavy emphasis on post-acquisition assimilation planning to maximize new growth and business combination opportunities.

He joined Transervice in 2007 and currently serves as executive vice president with sales, operations and staff responsibilities. He is also heavily involved in new business development and account management.

Previously he was president of LLT International, Inc., an international transportation consulting firm with operations in the U.S. and the Far East. He oversaw the maintenance and fleet management of a 2,000-vehicle cement distribution fleet in Indonesia.

Joseph was also president and CEO of Lend Lease Trucks Inc., a truck rental, leasing and dedicated carriage firm with operations throughout the U.S.

He also was vice president/general manager of The Hertz Corporation – Truck Division, a subsidiary of The Hertz Corp. While there he participated in the acquisition and successful integration of the Canadian licensee operations.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry during this informative webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!