A look at some of the special announcements at The Work Truck Show

April 1, 2012
A WIDE RANGE of award presentations and press conferences were held at The Work Truck Show this year. A definite shade of green could be seen as chassis

A WIDE RANGE of award presentations and press conferences were held at The Work Truck Show this year.

A definite shade of green could be seen as chassis manufacturers rolled out alternative-fueled trucks and truck body and equipment manufacturers continued to address ways to save customers fuel — not to mention the Green Truck Summit that was held in conjunction with the Work Truck Show.

Here is a sample of the award presentations and new product announcements:

Ram introduces its CNC power

Ram Truck, Auburn Hills MI, unveiled its factory-built compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) pickup truck during a press conference at The Work Truck Show 2012.

The Ram HD CNG is powered by the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and features both compressed gas storage tanks and an 8-gallon gasoline fuel tank. Canadian customers can opt for a 35-gallon gasoline tank.

The Ram's 5.7-liter Hemi bi-fuel engine has been modified to run on compressed natural gas as well as gasoline. Redesigned cylinder heads with specifically designed CNG compatible valves and valve-seat materials allow the engine to burn both fuels. It also gets a second, CNG-specific fuel rail and set of injectors. New spark plugs improve combustion and durability, and a new powertrain control module allows the Hemi to seamlessly operate on either of the two fuel sources.

In addition to a conventional gasoline fuel gauge, a second CNG-specific gauge sits adjacent to it in the instrument cluster.

In use, the system is automatic; eliminating operator switches altogether and utilizes either CNG or gasoline, transitioning from one to the other with little discernible difference in operation or capability.

Although a small amount of gasoline is used during engine startup, the Ram CNG runs exclusively on compressed natural gas. If the CNG tanks are emptied, the vehicle will automatically switch to gasoline. CNG-only range is estimated to be 255 miles, while the backup supply of gasoline extends the range to 367 total miles.

The CNG tanks provide a gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of 18.2 gallons. GGEs are calculated as having the same energy equivalent as one gallon of gasoline. CNG sold at filling stations in the U.S. is priced in dollars per GGE. A gasoline gallon equivalent of CNG is approximately 14.5 liters at 3600 psi. At current prices, which are generally $1.25 less than the gallon equivalent of gasoline, CNG promises significant cost savings over the life of the truck.

The Ram 2500 CNG retains its heavy-duty capability: 1,580 lbs. of payload, 4-ft.-8-in. usable bed length and 7,650 lbs. of towing capability.

A five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty covers the transmission and engine — including the internal engine components specific to CNG. The rest of the truck is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty.

GM offering bi-fuel pickups

Chevrolet and GMC announced details of General Motors' bi-fuel 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks.

The vehicles include a Vortec 6.0L V8 engine that seamlessly transitions between CNG and gas fuel systems. The Vortec V-8 is a special design, and the fuel system is installed by a GM Tier One supplier. The completed vehicle is delivered directly to the customer.

The combined give the trucks a cruising range of more than 650 miles. The Silverado and Sierra will be available in standard and long box, with either two- or four-wheel drive.

The bi-fuel commercial trucks will be covered by GM's three-year, 36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and vehicle emissions warranty, meeting all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements.

Fleet and retail consumers can place orders beginning this April.

Weatherguard wins Editors Choice Award

Knaack LLC, Crystal Lake IL, won The 2012 Work Truck Show 2012 Editors' Choice Award for its new line of accessories, bulkheads, and shelving for commercial vans.

A panel of trade media editors and fleet managers chose the Van Solutions line from a field of 90 products entered through the New Product Spotlight and New Product Media Guide programs.

The Weather Guard line was redesigned to offer innovative features that benefit the end user as well as the upfitter. New Rapid Mount shelving system provides quick custom storage, with significant thought given to easy access, especially to high-use areas.

Welcome to the Knapheide club

Knapheide's 1848 Club added a new class of members during The Work Truck Show.

To qualify, distributors must sell as many Knapheide products as the number of years the manufacturer has been in business. (Knapheide has been building wagons and/or truck bodies since 1848).

Shown receiving their plaques for the first time are (left to right): Jason Kopsa, Western States Truck Centers, Missoula MT; Scott Lambert, Dixie Trailer and Equipment, Ashland VA; Al Dehnert, C & S Plating & Bumper, Corpus Christi TX; Ryan Gregoire, Bert's Truck Equipment, East Grand Forks MN; Justin Doak, Arrowhead Truck Equipment, Bixby OK; Jack Schmidt, West Coast Truck Equipment, West Sacramento CA; and Bud Reno and Dick Krasne, Alamo Auto Supply, El Paso TX.

VIA Motors grabs the Green

VIA Motors, Orem UT, won the 2012 Work Truck Show 2012 Green Award for its full-size extended range electric vehicle (EREV) work trucks.

VIA displayed a pick-up truck and cargo van equipped with the company's proprietary eREV power train technology that enables specific work trucks to drive most of their daily work routes entirely on electric power. Lithium ion batteries provide the power to drive the trucks up to 40 miles purely on electricity. They can drive unlimited additional miles using VIA's onboard electric generator or “range extender.” The batteries can be charged by typical 110V household outlet overnight.

The Green Award is presented to the Work Truck Show exhibitor with the product that best advances fuel utilization. The winner is selected by a panel of trade media editors and fleet managers at the Show. There were more than 20 entries in this year's competition.

Freightliner launches propane-fueled chassis

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation introduced its S2G chassis powered by a factory-installed liquid propane gas (LPG) engine. The 8-liter, 325-hp engine uses General Motors' long block and other components as its core.

The benefits of an LPG chassis include lower operational costs and reduced emissions, without sacrificing payload capability or performance. Designed for the medium-duty commercial market, the S2G chassis is suitable for pickup and delivery, student transportation and municipal applications.

Like its diesel counterpart, the front-engine S2G utilizes the Freightliner M2 cab, which features a sloped, forward-tilting hood for superior visibility and easy engine access. It has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 33,000 pounds and comes equipped with an Allison 2300 automatic transmission with PTO provision.

With the support of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), FCCC partnered with Powertrain Integration and CleanFUEL USA in the development of the S2G. Formed in 2004 and headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Powertrain Integration provides custom solutions for OEM engines and drivetrains from the General Motors product lineup.

A limited preproduction run of S2G chassis is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012, with full production slated for the first quarter of 2013.