Green Truck Summit
The Green Truck Summit, held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show 2014, provided an opportunity for more than 550 attendees to gather information about innovative clean vehicle technologies, alternative fuel trends and upcoming products. Produced by the NTEA and presented by International Truck, the 2014 Green Truck Summit was opened with a keynote address by Patrick Davis, director, Office of Vehicle Technologies, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy.
“The choices in fuel-efficient technologies continue to expand,” Davis stated. “As of August 2013 there were 25 tractor, 13 refuse truck, 8 van, 17 transit bus and 18 vocational truck models powered by alternative fuel sources on the market. Fleets are putting more AFVs on the road than ever before and helping displace the use of petroleum. Clean Cities participants, in fact, have surpassed 5.4 billion gallons of fuel savings.”
Broken down by fuel type, Davis reported that the largest percentage, at 60.9 percent of that fuel reduction, was for natural gas engines, followed by biodiesel, ethanol, propane and electric vehicles. The high number for natural gas also reflects an expanding fueling infrastructure, which now includes 1,334 CNG, 90 LNG and 2,978 LPG stations.
“As many as 23 major fleets are now part of the National Clean Fleets Partnership,” Davis related, “and as alternative fuel engine and battery system development continues, the costs for fleets will continue to be reduced while energy density, which has doubled in five years, will continue to grow.”
DOE provides a variety of tools and assistance for fleets at www.afdc.energy.gov, including online calculators for petroleum reduction planning, evaluating return on investment for alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, and the AFLEET Tool for calculating petroleum use, cost of ownership, and pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Also available are interactive maps of alternative fueling stations and truck stop electrification sites, as well as data search capabilities for researching vehicles, engines, laws and incentives.
Green Truck Leadership Award
Another highlight of the Green Truck Summit was the presentation of the Green Truck Leadership Award to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan for her contributions to promoting advanced alternative fuels and technologies for work trucks. Senator Stabenow is the sponsor of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2013, which directs the Secretary of Energy to work toward substantially reducing or eliminating petroleum use by and emissions from passenger and commercial vehicles.
The Work Truck Show 2014 Green Award
The EchoDrive bolt-on hybrid electric kit from Echo Automotive was awarded The Work Truck Show 2014 Green Award, given annually to the product at The Work Truck Show that a panel of trade media and fleet manager judges determines best enhances vocational truck fuel utilization.
EchoDrive is a plug-in system that bolts directly to the vehicle and includes an advanced battery, electric motor, inverter and charger. The components work together to provide torque assistance and recover braking energy. Green Award judges cited EchoDrive for offering a complete fuel-saving package that can easily be added to or removed from existing vehicles. Echo-certified technicians can install EchoDrive in four to six hours using existing mounts.
Attendees were able to test drive a Ford E-250 cargo van equipped with EchoDrive during the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive held as part of The Work Truck Show. Echo Automotive also announced that production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015 on EchoDrive systems for 2010-2014 GM 2500 and 3500 vans, including Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana models. Visit www.echoautomotive.com.
2014 Green Truck Ride-and-Drive
Fleet managers at The Work Truck Show and the Green Truck Summit were able to test drive more than 20 sustainable technology vehicles during the event’s Green Truck Ride-and-Drive. The vehicles, available for test drives on city streets and on a closed-access course, included trucks, shuttle buses and vans powered by bi-fuel, CNG, electric hybrid, high-efficiency diesel, hydraulic hybrid, plug-in electric and propane autogas systems.
Suppliers and vehicles participating in the 2014 Green Truck Ride-and-Drive included:
• Allison Transmission – shuttle bus with parallel electric hybrid transmission system
• Altec Industries – aerial device with plug-in hybrid energy management system
• AMP Trucks/Workhorse – electric walk-in van
• Boulder Electric Vehicle – plug-in electric van
• Crosspoint Kinetics – parallel electric hybrid shuttle bus
• Echo Automotive Inc. – plug-in electric hybrid van
• Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. – ultraclean high-efficiency diesel walk-in van
• Freightliner Trucks – natural gas dump truck
• Hino Trucks – electric hybrid cabover trucks
• IMPCO Automotive – bi-fuel CNG sedan
• International Truck – plug-in electric tractor
• Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. – CNG N-Series truck
• Kenworth Truck Co. – CNG roll-off straight truck
• Lightning Hybrids – hydraulic hybrid shuttle bus
• Odyne Systems LLC – plug-in parallel electric hybrid truck
• Peterbilt Motors Co. – CNG day cab tractor
• Ram Commercial – CNG pickup
• ROUSH CleanTech – liquid propane autogas pickup
• Vanair Manufacturing Inc. – diesel idle management system
• VIA Motors Inc. – electric pickup
• XL Hybrids – hybrid electric cargo van
• Zenith Motors – electric cargo van
Green Truck Summit Sessions
Technical experts, government officials, business leaders and fleet managers presented a variety of technical sessions at the Green Truck Summit. Among them was “Successfully Selecting and Deploying Green Technologies – A Fleet Perspective,” during which fleet managers shared how and why they successfully chose and deployed the right sustainable technologies for their operations. In a panel presentation on “The Future of Sustainability for Work Trucks,” nine OEMs presented strategies and solutions for incorporating alternative fuels and advanced technologies into their future product offerings.
Other Green Truck Summit sessions covered:
• Work Truck Fuel and Advanced Technology Deployment and Trends
• The Vision and Reality of Natural Gas, a 100-Year Transportation Fuel
• The Successful Application of Low-Cost Strategies for Reducing Fleet Fuel Consumption
• Finishing Maintenance Training Before Your Alternative Fuel Truck Arrives
• Deploying Vehicles with Electric Drive Technology
• Choosing the Right Sustainability Technology for Your Truck’s Drive and Duty Cycles
• Idle Management Technology and Implementation Strategies for Work Trucks
• Electrification of Accessory Loads
• Financial Incentives for Alternative Fuel and Green Technology on Trucks
• Fueling a Competitive Edge: How Top Fleets are Succeeding with Propane Autogas
• Analysis of Alternative Fuels and Green Technology from a Return on Investment Perspective
Editor’s Note: Look for reports on Green Truck Summit sessions in future issues of Utility Fleet Professional. The 2015 Work Truck Show and Green Truck Summit will be held March 4-6 in Indianapolis. Visit www.ntea.com.
Odyne Systems Delivers First DOE Award Truck
Odyne Systems has rolled out one of the first units deployed under a $45.4 million U.S. Department of Energy award. The money is being used to develop and deploy plug-in hybrid systems on more than 120 trucks for investor-owned utilities and municipal electric companies throughout North America.
The Odyne plug-in hybrid system interfaces with Allison Transmission’s fully automatic gearboxes and uses a Remy electric motor in parallel with the existing drivetrain to provide launch assist and regenerative braking. At the work site, the system, featuring Johnson Controls lithium-ion battery packs, powers applications with the engine off.
Odyne systems are modular and can be applied and retrofitted to a wide range of work truck chassis in various types of operations. The systems are sold through Altec, DUECO and Terex Utilities and serviced by those organizations as well as by Allison Transmission distributors. Visit www.odyne.com.
XL Hybrids Expands Powertrain Technology to Ford
The new XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System from XL Hybrids is now available for Ford cutaway and strip chassis vehicles. The application of the hybrid electric powertrain technology to a new vehicle platform extends the company’s reach from Class 1 and 2 vans to Class 3 and 4 truck and shuttle bus configurations up to 14,500 pounds GVW.
The XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System is a charge-sustaining powertrain that installs in five hours and does not necessitate special plugs, charging or fueling, driver training or maintenance requirements. XL Hybrids is making the technology available for Ford E-350 and E-450 cutaway models immediately, and soon will offer the system for E-350 and E-450 stripped chassis and for GMC 3500/4500 cutaway chassis. Visit www.xlhybrids.com.
eNow Announces Partnerships
A developer of solar-based auxiliary power systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, eNow has formed a new business alliance with Velociti, a provider of technology deployment services. As a result, Velociti will be capable of installing any of eNow’s solar-powered eCharge energy systems either at a customer’s facility or at a Velociti facility.
eNow offers several solar auxiliary power systems. Its eCharge Solar Battery Charger is designed for vehicles that lose battery charge when powered off for extended periods, and for vehicles with emergency/safety lighting, liftgates or other battery-powered auxiliary systems. Recently, Palfinger added eNow’s 100-Watt eCharge Solar Battery Charger as an optional feature on all of its liftgate systems. Previously announced eNow partners include Bergstrom, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Hercules Mfg. Co. and Anthony Liftgates, and the California Air Resources Board has approved the use of eNow’s solar-powered auxiliary power system on heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles.
“We’re always on the lookout for technologies that our customers can leverage to maximize efficiency and value in their fleet,” said Velociti President Deryk Powell. “eNow’s solar technology is that type of value-added product. Additionally, fleets know that effective maintenance of their assets can improve productivity, efficiency and lower costs, and many fleets today are facing technician shortages. Using an expert to deploy and support transportation technologies in fleet operations means company technicians can focus on keeping today’s complex equipment operating properly.” Visit www.enowenergy.com and www.velociti.com.
Allison Launches FuelSense
Freightliner will be the first OEM in North America to release FuelSense in medium-duty trucks. The new fuel-efficiency package from Allison Transmission, the manufacturer said, has cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent during both testing and simulations. The new features will be available in late 2014 in Freightliner M2 chassis equipped with Allison 2000 and 3000 series transmissions.
According to Lou Gilbert, Allison Transmission’s director of North American marketing and global brand development, FuelSense adapts to driving conditions using features that have a proven impact on fuel economy. In particular, FuelSense features automatically adapt shift schedules and torque based on load, grade and duty cycle.
Included in FuelSense are 5th Generation smart controls, acceleration management, an inclinometer, EcoCal shift technology designed to keep engine speed at an efficient level, Dynamic Shift Sensing to automatically sense when low-engine speed shifts can be made, and Neutral at Stop to save fuel and reduce emissions when the vehicle is stationary. Visit www.allisontransmission.com.
Video Series Documents Fleet Success with Propane Autogas
Straight Talk, a new video series from the Propane Education & Research Council, features interviews with fleet managers about their experiences using propane autogas. The goal of the series is to document topics PERC identifies as important to fleets considering a switch to alternative fuels, including return on initial investment, ease of installation and access to affordable refueling infrastructure. The series is available at www.propanestraighttalk.com.
According to PERC, propane autogas sales reached record numbers in 2013 as OEMs introduced new light- and medium-duty vehicles and added more EPA- and CARB-certified conversions. The EPA-approved alternative fuel emits 12 percent less carbon dioxide, 20 percent less nitrogen oxide, 60 percent less carbon monoxide and costs 40 to 50 percent less than gasoline. Visit www.autogasusa.org.
Powertrain Integration Showcases Propane Autogas Solutions
As Powertrain Integration celebrates 10 years of providing GM with propane autogas engine solutions, the company is highlighting its offerings of LPG engine packages, including medium-duty vehicle applications in conjunction with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and CleanFUEL USA.
Displays from Powertrain Integration provide a view into its GM 6.0L LC8 propane autogas engine as well as the recently released PI-GM 8.0L LPG V8, including a cutaway of the 8.0L intake manifold that incorporates CleanFUEL USA’s latest Liquid Propane Injection system and a PI ECM with full SAE J1939 communications. The engine produces 339 horsepower at 4,100 rpm and 495 pound-feet of torque at 3,100 rpm, and is validated for up to 33,000 pounds GVWR in on-highway use. Visit www.powertrainintegration.com.
Blue Star Gas Installs Propane Fueling Sites in 10 Cities
Eleven 24-hour propane vehicle refueling stations in the Puget Sound region have been opened by Blue Star Gas, a propane fuel supplier and a member of the Alliance AutoGas clean vehicle conversion and refueling network. The refueling stations will serve more than 400 customer vehicles in the Pacific Northwest, providing customers with 24/7 access to pumps via a card-reading system, which also enables users to track fuel savings and miles-per-gallon usage.
The propane autogas refueling sites will service the Pacific Northwest’s growing population of alternative fuel vehicles, according to Darren Engle, Blue Star Gas director of government relations. “As more companies convert to alternative fuels, Blue Star Gas is providing the resources they need to make the transition easy and simple,” Engle said.
Fleets in the area can contact a local Blue Star Gas fleet specialist for access to the stations and training on safe refueling, and for more information about propane autogas and available equipment options. Visit www.bluestargas.com.
ACEEE Releases 2014 Environmental Scores
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its 17th annual environmental ratings for vehicles. “We’ve had such an influx of hybrid and electric vehicles in recent years that the race to earn a spot on the Greenest list is more competitive than ever, particularly for conventional vehicles,” said Shruti Vaidyanathan, ACEEE lead vehicle analyst. “It’s encouraging to see automakers investing heavily in eco-savvy vehicles.”
For this year, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive topped the ACEEE Greenest list, followed closely by the Toyota Prius C and the Nissan Leaf. Toyota’s entire line of Priuses performed well in 2014 with the regular Prius and the Prius plug-in hybrid rated in spots four and seven on the list. Other top scorers included the Honda Civic Hybrid (five), Lexus CT 200h (six), Honda Insight (10) and the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (12), as well as the Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle (nine). New this year is the Mitsubishi Mirage, a subcompact that took eighth place. Rounding out the top 12 spots at number 11 was the nonhybrid gasoline model Smart ForTwo.
ACEEE also identified a Greener Choices list of models, including trucks and SUVs such as the Buick Encore, Nissan Rogue and Ram 1500 HFE. On the Greenercars.org website, each vehicle is assigned a Green Score that incorporates life-cycle greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. This year, updates to the methodology to more accurately estimate environmental impact include in-use emissions of methane and nitrous oxides, evaporative emissions estimates, and gasoline, diesel and natural gas upstream emissions.
Summary Green Scores of the more than 1,000 configurations of all model year 2014 vehicles are available to subscribers of the interactive database along with each configuration’s fuel economy, health-related pollution impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. Subscribers can also build custom lists for comparing vehicles. Visit www.aceee.org.
Green Fleet Issues are Driving Software Adoption
Environmental issues are becoming an ever more important motivator for adopting fleet management software, said Ron Katz, senior vice president of North American sales at Chevin Fleet Solutions. “The use of environmental reporting tools available in fleet management software is growing, especially among federal, municipal and large corporate fleets,” he added. “More and more organizations are adopting alternative fuel targets and innovative transportation initiatives as part of wider environmental policies and vehicle operations strategies in an effort to meet sustainability goals.
“We are seeing increasing numbers of clients making moves to switch from six- to four-cylinder selectors, or taking steps to ensure that bi-fuel vehicles are burning the correct fuel for the lowest possible emissions output,” Katz continued. “Some early-adopter fleets are even starting to operate electric vehicles in an effort to make their environmental impact as low as possible.”
Katz went on to explain that one of the difficulties for fleets with sustainability goals is tracking actual fuel usage in a credible way and producing compliance metrics that stand up to environmental auditing. “Producing figures that validate a fleet’s environmental performance is a complex task,” he noted. “That’s one reason why we’re seeing more interest in the alternative fuel management capabilities and environmental reporting analytics available using software that makes detailed, accurate and timely fuel usage information readily available.” Visit www.chevinfleet.com.
Demand to Soar for Eco-Friendly Vehicle Lifts
As fleet maintenance and service shops address new and more stringent environmental requirements, 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the green lift, according to Stertil-Koni USA Inc. President Dr. Jean DellAmore. “As fleets strive to contain costs, enhance efficiency and address environmental mandates, an increasing number are going green in an approach that can benefit both the environment and the bottom line,” he said. “What’s more, the opportunity to go green and reduce costs extends beyond the realm of vehicles to the equipment used to service them.”
Stertil-Koni’s market analysis shows that customers of all types and sizes will increasingly require eco-friendly vehicle lifts in 2014, including a broad array of lifting systems, DellAmore noted. In response, he added that Stertil-Koni has introduced DIAMOND LIFT, which has a total lifting capacity of up to 96,000 pounds and utilizes biodegradable oil and a design that prohibits hazardous shop fluids from entering the environment.
For in-ground lifts, Stertil-Koni has developed its ECOLIFT. With a lifting capacity of up to 90,000 pounds, the in-ground axle-engaging lift only requires 3.5 gallons of fluid per scissor, and, with nothing embedded below ground, can be used at locations with a high water table.
Additionally, Stertil-Koni recently introduced a new generation of its green hydraulic mobile column lift. EARTHLIFT, now with a lifting capacity of 18,500 pounds per column, features columns made of components that are 98 percent recyclable and the company’s Active Energy Retrieval System, which achieves 35 percent more lifting cycles at maximum lifting load.
“Our research clearly indicates that going green is the best way to serve our rapidly growing customer base and simultaneously provide sound environmental stewardship to meet the demands ahead,” DellAmore concluded. Visit www.stertil-koni.com.