Work trucks strive to curtail addiction to fuel

  • 17-Mar-2017 03:54 EDT
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Fuso’s fully electric eCanter is a Class 4 truck with a range of 100 miles.

Reducing fuel consumption was a focal point of several trucks unveiled in March. Electric drivetrains and four-cylinder engines were among the tactics disclosed at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. rolled out an all-electric medium-duty work truck, the eCanter, which it says will be the first plug-in electric work truck produced by a major truck manufacturer. The Class 4 truck has a payload capacity of roughly 9380 lb (4255 kg).

It offers a range of up to 100 mi (160 km), one-hour quick charging, and standard eight-hour overnight charge. Compared to a two-year lease, the eCanter will carry a 15-20% premium over a comparable diesel engine, Fuso CEO Jecka Glasman said. She added that it weighs about 800 lb (363 kg) more than a similar diesel vehicle.

“There are six batteries developed by Mercedes, they output 360 V,” said Otto Schmid, Fuso’s Director, Product Management. “They provide 82 kW·h of energy to power a 129-kW asynchronous motor. These motors have high torque—compared to a V10 gasoline engine, they provide 34 foot-pounds more torque.”

Ford took a different tack on electrification, expanding its Advanced Fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifier program to include three developers that install electrified and hydraulic hybrid powertrains on Ford trucks and vans. XL Hybrids, Motiv Power Systems and Lightning Hybrids offer solutions for a range of Ford vehicles popular with fleet and commercial customers, including F-150, F-250 to F-550 Super Duty, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks, Transit and E-Series vans and chassis, and F-53/F-59 stripped chassis.

One supplier noted that fleets are now upfitted to hybrids solely to save money.

“The days of buying hybrids just to be green are over,” said Clay Siegert, chief operating officer of XL Hybrids. “Every acquisition now is based on a financial payback.”

A four-cylinder engine was the highlight of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America’s 2018 FTR, a Class 6 medium-duty truck, which the company says is the first four-cylinder in this segment. It’s powered by the Isuzu 4HK1-TC 5.2-L turbocharged diesel engine. Isuzu didn’t provide mileage data, but said the turbocharged 4HK1-TC generates 520 lb·ft (705 N·m) of torque at 1650 rpm and 215 hp (160 kW) at 2500 rpm.

The FTR employs an Allison 2550 RDS six-speed automatic transmission with power take-off (PTO) capability. The front axle has a capacity of 12,000 lb (5445 kg), while the rear axle’s capacity is 19,000 lb (8620 kg).

In another change, Fuso unveiled a gasoline powertrain for its FE Series medium-duty cabover trucks. A 297-hp (222-kW) V8, the 6-L PSI-GMPT Vortec, powers three Fuso models, the FE130, FE160 and FE180, spanning Class 3, 4 and 5. An Allison 1000 6-speed automatic transmission will offer a PTO capability. Fuso also focused on safety, teaming up with Mobileye, using its advanced collision avoidance system, which is used on a number of passenger cars.

“We did a test, installing the systems and letting people drive for one month without turning them on,” Glasman said. “When the Mobileye system was turned on, emergency braking and lane departure without warning were reduced by 50%.”

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