The following are some examples of the options available in the changing work truck fuel-management landscape.
Fueling up with CNG
The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty (HD) CNG pickup from Chrysler, powered by a 5.7L HEMI V-8 engine modified to run on both CNG and gasoline, is designed specifically for fleet and commercial customers. Redesigned cylinder heads with specifically designed CNG-compatible valves and valve-seat materials allow the engine to burn both fuels. The engine also has a second, CNG-specific fuel rail and set of injectors. The specially designed spark plugs help improve combustion and durability, and a new powertrain control module allows the HEMI to seamlessly operate on either of the two fuel sources.
The CNG is stored in two tanks that have an 18.2 gasoline-gallon-equivalent in the pickup bed. According to Robert Hegbloom, director of Ram Truck, the tanks are bolted to the 2500 HD’s frame and surrounded by a high-strength steel case for added protection and safety. The tanks measure approximately four feet by four feet, leaving four feet of usable storage space. In addition, there is an eight-gallon gasoline tank. The capless CNG filler is located next to the gasoline fuel neck and is accessed through the Ram’s fuel-filler door.
The CNG-only range of the pickup is 255 miles, and the gasoline backup extends the range to 367 miles. While gasoline is needed to start the engine, the 2500 HD CNG is designed to run exclusively on natural gas and seamlessly switch to gasoline once it is depleted.
Unlike some other systems, there are no operator fuel switches on the instrument panel. The transition from fuels is automatic — and, according to the company, unnoticed by the driver. Drivers can monitor natural gas consumption with a CNG-specific fuel gauge that sits adjacent to the gasoline fuel gauge.
The 2500 HD CNG offers heavy-duty capability, including 1,580 lbs. of payload and 7,650 lbs. of towing capability. The Ram 2500 is delivered ready to tow and its standard equipment includes integrated 4- and 7-pin connectors and a Class IV hitch receiver.
The 2500 HD CNG will be available exclusively as a Crew Cab 4x4 model with 169-inch wheelbase in either the ST or SLT trim level and comes with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, which covers the HEMI V-8 and transmission, and adds internal engine components specific to CNG: upgraded valves, valve seats, fuel injectors and rail; and specially designed spark plugs. An additional three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty covers the rest of the vehicle. Chrysler expects the vehicle to be delivered to its first fleet customers at the end of June.
Built on FCCC’s S2 chassis, the S2G’s 8.0L, 325 hp engine supplied by Powertrain Integration offers clean-burning LPG technology on a General Motors’ long block, with other GM components as its core.
LPG chassis benefits include lower operational costs and reduced emissions, without sacrificing payload capability or performance. The S2G chassis is suitable for pickup and delivery, student transportation, and municipal applications.
“The S2G was developed in response to significant industry interest for an LPG solution without retrofitting or aftermarket additions,” said FCCC President Bob Harbin.
To develop this new medium-duty commercial product, the manufacturer requested direct customer input.
“From the start, we invited our end-users, fleet managers, and body manufacturers to tell us about their specific needs, from GVWR and chassis component placement to in-cab layout and electrical interfaces,” said Jonathan Randall, director of sales and marketing for FCCC. “We didn’t want to just add an LPG engine to our S2 chassis — we wanted to make the best chassis our customers could envision while making the most body-builder friendly truck in the market.”
Like its diesel counterpart, the front-engine S2G utilizes the Freightliner M2 cab, which features a sloped, forward-tilting hood for increased visibility and easy engine access. It has a GVWR of 33,000 lbs. and comes equipped with an Allison automatic transmission with PTO provision. Daylight running lights come standard.
A limited preproduction run of the S2G chassis is expected in the fourth quarter of 2012, with full production slated for the first quarter of 2013.
Enter the VIA
As an added benefit, the e-REV work truck comes with an onboard generator that can be used in place of a tow-behind generator to power the work site or provide emergency power. The powertrain includes a 402 hp electric motor, a 4.3L V-6 combustion engine, a 201 hp electric generator, and a 1,500-lb. payload capacity. The current pickup models are available in standard, extended, and crew cab models.
According to VIA, the VTRUX achieves 845 MPGe. A comparable conventional truck gets about 15.5 mpg. Yearly gasoline and electrical costs are estimated by the company to be $689 compared to $6,408 for a conventional gasoline truck of the same size.
As is common with range-extended vehicles, the VTRUX has lower maintenance costs, estimated by VIA to be $8,400 less than a conventional gasoline truck. According to the company, the VTRUX will save fleets more than $25,000 over the course of an eight-year lifecycle.
Making Hybrids Affordable
Cost was a top concern for fleets when the company was designing its system, and XL Hybrids is able to deliver a drop-in system at an estimated cost of under $8,000.
The system is designed to be installed in about four hours by the vehicle upfitter. “It’s designed to be part of the upfitting process and then shipped through to the buyer,” Ashton explained.
XL Hybrids’ system is designed for fleet trucks driven about 75 miles per day. While it currently has an ROI of five years, Ashton said the company has a goal of lowering that to three years.
To make the system even more attractive to fleets, XL Hybrids is offering a leasing option. “We can amortize the cost over the life of the vehicle. For fleets that care about monthly costs, this option is really attractive. Leasing a hybrid vehicle can start the savings day one instead of waiting for the payback,” Ashton noted, adding that this option has elicited interest from fleet management companies.
Ashton estimated that fleets that use XL Hybrids’ system will see a fuel savings of about $1,800 per year, per vehicle. As an added benefit, like gasoline-hybrid sedans, he estimated that brake maintenance would be lower because of the regenerative braking.
Kenworth Truck Company offers two diesel-electric hybrid options, the Class 6 T270 and Class 7 T370. The trucks are powered by the PACCAR PX-6 engine.
Getting a Boost
The Ford F-150 with EcoBoost V-6 engine is rated at up to 22 mpg highway and has the ability to tow up to 11,300 lbs., the same capability as its traditional 6.2L V-8 option.
The 2013 Ford Transit will come to market with a new clean diesel and EcoBoost V-6 engine, which will allow it to achieve at least 25 percent better fuel economy than the E-Series vans the Transit is largely replacing and give fleet customers options when shopping for a fuel-efficient vehicle. In addition to having a more efficient engine, the Transit will also help fleets save money by being at least 300 lbs. lighter, which could help trim thousands of dollars in operating costs from fuel savings alone, according to the automaker.
Originally posted on Work Truck Online