Sustainably Speaking

Work Truck Show highlights sustainability, new vehicles

It’s fitting that The Work Truck Show is highlighting fuel-efficient vehicles this year, especially since gas prices, once again, have been steadily creeping up at the pump. When contractors and business owners go green, they are not only helping their bottom line, but they are helping the environment too.

For starters, ROUSH CleanTech announced yesterday its newest liquid propane autogas product offering: The new 6.8-liter V10 propane autogas-powered Ford F-550 super duty chassis cab. A prototype of the vehicle is on display in the Ford Commercial Truck booth No. 3431.

The fuel system is currently in development and will be Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resource Board (CARB) certified at launch. The system will be available as a Ford ship-through option for installation on new vehicles, or as a retrofit option for vehicles already in service. The propane autogas fuel system will be available for 2012 and later models of the Ford F-450 and F-550 truck series. The system, equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission, will work on all cab and wheelbase configurations, as well as 4x2 or 4x4 vehicles.

“Going green is not just for light-duty vehicles anymore,” said Joe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “This truck has massive capacity, exceptional maneuverability, and rugged construction. It’s a workhorse in the field and economical on paper. Based on today's fuel prices, a propane autogas Ford F-450 or F-550 can save $30,000 over a 200,000 mile vehicle life, and can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by 120,000 pounds or more.”

Some of the benefits of propane autogas are that it burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel and has fewer particulate emissions when compared to gasoline. When compared to diesel fuel, the emissions reductions are even greater. Propane autogas offers up to 40% reduction in fuel costs when compared to gasoline.

In addition to a new product rollout, Brian Carney, ROUSH CleanTech’s director of marketing, spoke during the Alternative Gaseous Fuel Systems session. The Green Truck Summit’s educational sessions provide insight into funding green fleets, implementing programs, and achieving carbon footprint reduction.

Also at the show, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. unveiled the commercial van The Reach. The commercial van will achieve 35% better fuel economy than a traditional commercial van application while offering the functionality of a custom-built work truck along with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van. Production is scheduled to begin this summer.

The Reach’s cab and cargo area were designed with focus on fuel efficiency through advanced aerodynamics, driver safety and productivity through applied ergonomics, utility, and durability and ease of repair.

The Ram Truck Brand also unveiled the new 2012 Ram Cargo Van. The Ram C/V features a new driver-selectable fuel economizer mode. Drivers can change the transaxle shift schedule with a flip of a switch to maximize their fuel economy.

Engineered to meet small business and commercial needs, the Ram Cargo Van features solid sliding door and rear quarter window and backlight privacy panels in place of clear glass windows. It’s a Class 1 commercial vehicle-leading 1,800-lb. cargo payload and category-exclusive towing capability, up to 3,600 lbs. A 20-gallon fuel tank and 25 mpg highway also deliver best-in-class fuel range. A rear spoiler and reduced brake caliper and rear bearing drag all contribute to Ram Cargo Van’s class-leading aerodynamics and excellent fuel economy.

If you are in Indianapolis, you still have time to attend the Work Truck Show. It runs March 8-10 at the Indiana Convention Center. Click here for more information.