Going green? Want to save fuel? Truck body engineers can help.
Environmental issues and rising fuel prices are key customer concerns today — and a recurring theme that was evident at the recent Work Truck Show held in Indianapolis March 8-10.
It was almost like attending the Green Truck Summit (also held in conjunction with the Work Truck Show) in absentia.
So how does a truck body make a work truck green? Several ways — by saving weight (and thereby reducing fuel consumption), by reducing aerodynamic drag (along with fuel consumption), and by being made of recyclable materials. Many of the new truck bodies seen at this year's show shared one or more of those design parameters.
Read about one of the exhibitors below, and view a gallery showcasing many other exhibitors using the link above.
Utilimaster extends its reach
Utilimaster Corporation, Wakarusa IN, teamed up with Isuzu Commercial Truck of North America to unveil the Reach, a new walk-in van that the two companies say will improve fuel economy by 35%.
In a joint news conference, Utilimaster and Isuzu revealed details of the new vehicle.
This commercial van is offered with three lengths—10-ft, 12-ft, and 14-ft—and is scheduled for full production in the second half of this year. The three lengths offer 450, 530, 640 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
The Reach will be available with payload ratings of up to 4,800 pounds.
“It has the turning radius of a cargo van—but twice the capacity,” says John Marshall, Utilimaster’s senior vice-president of sales, marketing, and business development. “And it has the fuel economy of a hybrid.”
Contributing to the fuel economy is a lightweight composite body that has no metal in the body panels. They are made of a honeycomb core sandwiched between fiberglass sheets. The roof, floor, and door are also made of composite material, and the rear door frame is aluminum—all designed to reduce weight—up to 600 pounds.
The lighter weight and improved aerodynamics, along with Isuzu’s thrifty four-cylinder engine help the Reach squeeze 35% more miles from a gallon of diesel fuel when compared with traditional Class 3 – 5 commercial walk-in designs, according to testing conducted by an independent, certified party.
A spring-loaded door to the cargo area, operated at the push of a button, is designed to save time. For operations such as Federal Express, which may make 150 stops per day, the faster door can save the driver up to 90 minutes a day, Utilimaster says.
Finally, modular vocational packages are available either from the factory or as aftermarket applications.
Supreme launches the Aero.
Supreme Industries, Elkhart IN, unveil the Aero Body, a new aerodynamic van designed to slash fuel consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag.
Built to fit an Isuzu low cab forward chassis, the body tackles wind drag head-on with a full-width fiberglass fairing that smoothes airflow over the windshield and around what otherwise would be the flat, drag snagging front wall of the van body. The radiused front corners of the van also help reduce drag.
Skirting also smoothes airflow by reducing turbulence from beneath the truck. An access panel enables technicians to reach batteries and the DEF tank which otherwise would be obscured by the side skirt.
The body also saves weight. The front wall, for example, is a composite of fiberglass and polypropylene that weighs approximately a pound per square foot.
The floor is made of FRP plywood that has been given a textured, slip-resistant surface. The rear door frame is steel, but it is covered with a fiberglass cap.
Sidewalls are a sandwich construction similar to vans built in Europe. But beneath the smooth surface is a steel frame that includes steel posts installed on 24-inch centers. The exterior surface of the sidewalls have slight curve that makes it look like an aerodynamic van body.
Supreme recently drove the Aero Body on a nationwide tour, racking up some 13,000 miles in 45 days. According to Supreme’s Bob Besse, the truck averaged over 18 miles per gallon and never got less than 16 mpg.
Supreme is producing the Aero Body in all five of its manufacturing facilities.
Read about many more new products in the gallery using the link above.