What’s new for beverage fleets

In early 2012, commercial truck sales improved dramatically. Then, in the latter portion of the year, they tapered considerably downward, though total sales for the full year are still expected to be well above the lean years of 2009-2011. Notwithstanding the year’s mixed sales performance, many manufacturers invested in new or upgraded models of interest to the beverage industry. The following are the highlights from a query of truck manufacturers:


Ford Trucks

New Transit/Transit Connect Vans: Ford recently unveiled its new generation of Transit commercial vehicles, developed on all-new global platforms for sale in Europe, North America and other worldwide markets. The full-size Transit van replaces the heavier 2-ton Transit in Europe and worldwide markets and will replace the E-Series vans in North America. The redesigned Transit Connect compact van will replace the current model sold globally.

Developed under Ford’s global product strategy in Europe, with product ranges tailored to the needs of customers in each region. In North America, the all-new Transit and Transit Connect are scheduled to go on sale by the fourth quarter of 2013.

In North America, customers can choose from several engines, including the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 or a powerful diesel option; each features rear-wheel drive and at least 25 percent better fuel economy than a comparable E-Series. Multiple roof heights and wheelbases will be available, as will a cutaway version. North American Transit vans will be manufactured in Kansas City, Mo., alongside the Ford F-150.

Current Transit Connect Van: The Transit Connect is said to operate like a truck and drive like a car, thanks to rack-and-pinion power-assisted steering, MacPherson strut front suspension with a stabilizer bar, and rear multi-leaf springs with a stabilizer bar. The Transit Connect features as much as 129.6 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the front seats with a load floor more than 6 feet long, a maximum payload as much as 1,600 pounds, and a modular array of cargo management options to customize for specific tasks. A tight curb-to-curb turning radius, rear doors that open as much as 255 degrees, and a load floor height of less than two feet make the Transit Connect ideally suited for delivery work in an urban environment.

E-Series Vans: Ford’s E-Series vans offer rear cargo doors that open to 105 degrees or 178 degrees, as needed. An integrated trailer brake controller optimizes trailer braking by interacting with the vehicle’s own Anti-Lock Brake System. The optional navigation system features a 6.5-inch touch-screen display integrated into the instrument panel, and an available “Crew Chief” telematics and diagnostics system gives fleet administrators vital data to help manage their vehicles, drivers and maintenance.

F-650 SuperDuty Chassis Cab: The F-650 SuperDuty is available with a 6.8-liter V10 gasoline engine, said to cost thousands of dollars less than diesel trucks of comparable size.

The 6.8-liter three-valve gas engine produces 362 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. The engine is coupled with a Ford 6R410 six-speed transmission with double overdrive gears for improved fuel economy.

Other features include a four-door SuperCab body and PowerScope trailer tow mirrors that adjust, fold and telescope at the touch of a switch.

The F-650 also has available Sync technology to help keep drivers better connected without them having to divert their eyes from the road. Sync allows drivers to communicate wirelessly without sacrificing safety.

Website: ford.com/commercial-trucks


Freightliner Trucks

Earlier this year, Freightliner announced that its 113-inch Cascadia day-cab will be available with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engine option.

“Designed for regional haul and [less than truckload] (LTL) applications, the CNG Cascadia offers unparalleled benefits that help businesses increase productivity, performance and profitability,” said Freightliner’s Alt- Fuel Segment Manager Greg Treinen. With early production beginning in the first quarter of 2013, the Cummins Westport ISX12 G CNG engine will be factory-installed and covered by the factory warranty.

Freightliner recently completed its first-ever CNG Cross Country Tour.  Starting in Long Beach, Calif., the tour took a Cascadia 113-inch day-cab equipped with the new Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine to Freightliner dealerships throughout the United States, ending in Washington, D.C. The tractor, which hauled a 53-foot trailer loaded with 30,000 pounds, was filled up with CNG every 250 miles (on average) at available public fueling stations, with 450 miles being the longest distance between fill-ups, resulting in an estimated fuel cost savings of $700 compared with local diesel prices near each fuel stop.

Website: freightlinertrucks.com


General Motors Fleet and Commercial

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana Cargo Van: General Motors’ Cargo Vans are available in regular (135-inch) and extended (155-inch) wheelbase lengths. The 1500 series vans include light-duty models rated at 7,300 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW). The 2500 series includes heavy-duty models rated at 8,600 pounds GVW. The heavy-duty 3500 series includes models rated at 9,600 pounds GVW with the 6.0-liter gas V8, and 9,900 pounds GVW with the Duramax 6.6-liter diesel. Express and Savana Cargo models also are available with a dedicated CNG package.

The following are some standard and available features: fuel-saving, six-speed automatic transmissions; right-hand (driver-side) cargo doors; optional all-wheel drive; available 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine with B20 biodiesel capability; optional locking rear differential; trailer ratings as much as 10,000 pounds on 2500 and 3500 models; and StabiliTrak electronic stability control, which is standard on all models.

New options for 2013 include a navigation radio, rear vision camera and ultrasonic rear park assist. The rear vision camera display is shown in the rearview mirror, unless the vehicle is equipped with the new navigation radio, where it is displayed on the radio screen.

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana Cutaway Van: General Motors’ Cutaway Van models offer wheelbases in single or dual rear wheels and three engine choices, including the Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel. New for 2013 is an available navigation radio as well as a rear vision camera system. The 3500 series models also offer higher GVW ratings for 2013, as much as 10,100 pounds. The maximum GVW rating for 4500 series models remains 14,200 pounds.

The following are the model highlights: 139-, 159- and 177-inch wheelbases; 4.8-liter and 6.0-liter gas V8 engines with six-speed automatic transmissions; optional Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 with six-speed automatic transmission; an available propane fuel package on 4500 series models with the 6.0-liter engine; four-wheel disc brakes with antilock; an available locking rear differential; and optional OnStar with Turn-by-Turn navigation.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500: General Motors’ 1500 series pickups continue to offer V8 power with an U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) highway estimate of 21 miles per gallon (mpg) for mainstream two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) models, a 22 mpg estimated highway rating for the XFE models, and up to 23 mpg on the highway for hybrid models. The lineup of powerful small-block V8 engines and six-speed automatic transmissions enable a maximum payload capacity of 1,937 pounds. The GM powertrains are backed by a five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

The 1500 series models are available in three cab styles: regular, extended and crew cab. The series also is available in three cargo box lengths: 5 foot 8 inches (short), 6 foot 6 inches (standard) and 8 feet (long).

New for 2013 is a powertrain grade braking capability in the normal transmission mode. It was previously incorporated only when the Tow/Haul mode was activated. It uses engine torque to help slow the vehicle on descents, which helps reduce brake wear. It is featured with the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter engines paired with six-speed transmissions.

The following are additional towing and hauling features on the 1500 series pickups: StabiliTrak with trailer sway control and hill-start assist; Tow-haul mode for automatic transmissions; available Integrated trailer brake controller; available max trailering package (10,700-pound maximum trailer weight rating); and an available rear vision camera.

For enhanced fuel economy, the XFE (2WD crew cab) models deliver an EPA-estimated 22 mpg on the highway, thanks to aerodynamic enhancements, a 5.3-liter/six-speed automatic powertrain and other efficiency improvements.  The XFE models also boast a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.

The Silverado and Sierra Hybrid models return for 2013, delivering fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway, while still offering a 6,100-pound towing capacity.

Chevrolet Silverado HD/GMC Sierra HD: New for 2013 on General Motors’ HD pickup line is a bi-fuel Gasoline/CNG fuel system and 6.0-liter V8 bi-fuel engine available on 2500HD extended cab models. The Duramax 6.6-liter V8 turbo-diesel, producing 397 horsepower with 765 pound-feet of torque, is now available on 3500HD Chassis Cab and pickup box-delete models.

Ten 2500HD models and eight single-/dual-rear-wheel 3500HD models are available, including regular cab, extended cab and crew cab body styles.

The following are some of their capabilities: 2500HD maximum payload of 4,212 pounds with the available Performance Package on regular cab long box 2WD models; 2500HD conventional towing capacity of 13,000 pounds; 2500HD fifth-wheel towing capacity of 17,800 pounds; 3500HD maximum payload of 7,222 pounds; 3500HD conventional towing capacity of 18,000 pounds; 3500HD fifth-wheel towing capacity of 23,100 pounds.

The HD trucks are offered with multiple trim levels in both 2WD and 4WD. The following are highlights of the lineup: fully boxed, high-strength steel frames; Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel rated for B20 biodiesel capability; standard 36-gallon fuel tank and engine efficiency enables up to 680 miles between fill-ups with the Duramax turbo-diesel; smart exhaust brake feature that provides greater control on grades and reduced brake pad wear; an array of control features, including trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake control, hill start assist and intelligent brake assist; and larger brakes.

Also new is powertrain grade braking in the normal transmission mode for the 6.0-liter engine, which was previously incorporated only when the Tow/Haul mode was activated. It uses engine torque to help slow the vehicle on descents, which helps reduce brake wear.

Website: gmfleet.com


Hino Motors

Designed specifically for the North American market, the all-new Hino 195h Class 5 cabover model is powered by a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain that produces 210 horsepower with 440 pound-feet of torque from Hino’s 5.0-liter (J05E) engine, mated to the Aisin A45 six-speed automatic transmission. The 195h also features a 33-inch wide, 56,900 psi frame with a center-mounted rear fuel tank.

The Hino 338 Class 7 conventional cab truck, rated for 33,000 pounds GVW, is powered by Hino’s 8.0-liter (J08E) diesel engine producing 260 horsepower with 660 pound-feet of torque, mated to the Allison 2500RDS six-speed automatic transmission with Shift Energy Management. Optional equipment includes a 120,000 psi frame and clean chassis aft of the cab for easier body mounting.

Website: hino.com


Isuzu Commercial Vehicles

Isuzu’s cabover/Low Cab Forward (LCF) N-Series models are available with gasoline powertrains in the Class 3-4 range or with diesel powertrains in the Class 3-5 range.

N-Series gas models are powered by a 6.0 Vortec V8 engine that produces 297 horsepower with 372 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6L90 Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic with double overdrive. The N-Series gas models also are available with a CNG/LPG alternative fuel capable option.

N-Series diesel Class 3 models are powered by an Isuzu 3.0-liter (4JJ1-TC) turbocharged intercooled diesel engine rated at 150 horsepower with 282 pound-feet of torque, mated to an Aisin A460 double-overdrive six-speed automatic transmission with lockup.

Class 4-5 diesel models are powered by an Isuzu 5.2-liter (4HK1-TC) turbocharged intercooled diesel engine rated at 215 horsepower with 452 pound-feet of torque, mated to an Aisin A465 six-speed double overdrive automatic transmission with lockup, torque convertor and PTO opening. A manual transmission is optional.

NPR – Gas: Class 3 LCF is available with a three-person standard cab or seven-passenger crewcab, with a GVW rating of 12,000 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 6,186 and 6,994 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 109 and 176 inches.

NPR-HD – Gas: Class 4 LCF is available with a three-person standard cab or seven-passenger crewcab, with a GVW rating of 14,500 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 8,636 and 9,408 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 109 and 176 inches.

Reach Commercial Walk-In Van – Diesel: The Class 3 walk-in van with a GVW rating of 12,000 pounds and a body payload allowance up to 3,408 pounds is available with a wheelbase of 151 inches.

NPR ECO-MAX – Diesel: Class 3 LCF is available with a GVW rating of 12,000 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 6,315 and 6,453 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 110 and 151 inches. The new Eco-Max achieves up to 20 percent better fuel economy than the previous-generation Class 3 model.

NPR-HD – Diesel: Class 4 LCF is available with a three-person standard cab or seven-passenger crewcab, with a GVW rating of 14,500 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 7,699 and 8,503 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 109 and 176 inches.

NQR – Diesel: Class 5 LCF is available with a three-person standard cab or seven-passenger crewcab, with a GVW rating of 17,950 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 10,657 and 11,483 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 109 and 200 inches.

NRR – Diesel: Class 5 LCF is available with a GVW rating of 19,500 pounds and a body payload allowance of between 12,493 and 12,897 pounds. Wheelbase range is between 109 and 212 inches.

Website: isuzucv.com


Kenworth Truck Co.

K270/K370 Cabover: Earlier this year, Kenworth delivered the first production models of its K370 cabover to the Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR) fleet operation in Bellevue, Wash. The truck’s debut marks the entry into a new product segment for the company in North America. “It’s exciting to bring the Kenworth K370 cabover into the market, and there’s no better way to start than with Coca-Cola Refreshments,” said Kenworth General Manager Gary Moore in a statement.

CCR made an initial purchase of seven K370s, all to be placed into service at the Bellevue facility. The CCR K370 models feature a 6.7-liter Paccar PX-6 250 horsepower engine with 660 pound-feet of torque and an Allison 2500 HS five-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to the K370, Kenworth also offers the new Class 6 K270 cabover. Applications for the K270 and K370 include pick-up, delivery and distribution operations that require a highly maneuverable truck with a 16- to 28-foot van body size. The 63.4-inch front bumper to back of the cab measurement (FBBC) on the K270 and K370 combined with a 55-degree wheel cut provide excellent maneuverability, the company says.

T660 Tractor: Within Kenworth’s lineup of aero-slick tractors, the T680 fills an important role, between the narrow-cab T660 and the wide-cab T700. Where the T700 wide-cab is great for long-haul team drivers who need maximum cab and sleeper space, and the T660 “traditional” narrow-cab is ideal for a solo driver, the T680 measures up at just more than 82 inches wide, compared with the T660 at 75 inches and the T700 at 90 inches wide. Designed for line-haul, pickup and delivery, and regional hauling operations, the T680 is available with a 76-inch-long integrated sleeper or as a day-cab model.

Although the T660 and T700 models brought much advancement to the market at their debut, more were added to the T680. The gains on the T680 include 65 percent more storage capacity, a 50 percent larger windshield, 40 percent less interior noise, and 30 percent larger door openings. An important improvement considering recent fuel prices is a 10 percent gain in aerodynamic performance compared with the T660, delivering a 5 percent improvement in fuel economy.

Website: kenworth.com


Peterbilt Motors Co.

Model 210 Cabover: Available as a Class 6 straight truck with a GVW rating of 26,000 pounds, the Model 210 Cabover is ideal for the urban environment and drivers without a CDL. Wrap-around glass provides the driver 360 degrees of visibility, and the cabover design delivers maximum maneuverability in tight quarters.

Model 220 Cabover: Available as a Class 7 truck with a GVW rating of 33,000 pounds, the Model 220 is recommended for bodies between 20 and 26 feet in length. Optional are automatic transmission, air suspension and air brakes, which are available on base models.

Model 330 Conventional: The Model 330 is a Class 6 straight truck for drivers without commercial licenses. The durable Metton hood tilts open 90 degrees for easier engine access and serviceability, secured with a locking device to prevent unintentional closure.

Model 337 Conventional: Available with a choice of the Paccar PX-6 or PX-8 engines, in both truck and tractor configurations, the Model 337 offers a GVW rating of 26,000 to 33,000 pounds. Convenience features include power windows, mirrors and lock switches, all located in the door pad. The Model 337 also is available in an environmentally friendly hybrid diesel-electric configuration.

Model 382 Tractor: The Model 382 tractor provides quality, reliability and exceptional serviceability to the short-haul Class 8 market segment. The Cummins ISL9 engine and aerodynamic features provide efficient operation. A proprietary Aero Package features a roof fairing and trim tabs that can provide up to a 15 percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency compared with a non-fairing equipped Model 382.

Model 579 Tractor: The Model 579 Class 8 tractor offers a wide, spacious cab that surrounds the driver in comfort and efficiency. A detachable sleeper adds versatility and the longevity of a second life for higher resale value. Standard equipment includes air disc brakes that provide better performance and life during frequent city stops, and the Bendix ESP stability control system. The forward lighting system is optimized for superior visibility. Efficient fuel consumption and optimized aerodynamics deliver cost-effective operation.

Website: peterbilt.com


Ram Trucks

Chrysler’s Ram Truck division appears to have been the most prolific with updates for 2013, announcing significant changes to its entire conventional-cab line. The company continues to offer a panel version of its popular mini-van for commercial use, and the rumor mill has a Fiat-based full-size cargo van joining the commercial lineup in the very near future.

Ram 1500 Pickup: The 2013 Ram 1500 features a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine with 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared with the previous 3.7-liter V6 powertrain. Also available is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that provides 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque. Power gets to the ground through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The TorqueFlite 8 transmission, standard equipment with 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, doubles the number of gears compared with the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, greatly improving fuel economy. The eight-speed transmission, also available with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, is operated by a dash-mounted, rotary e-shift control.

“Fuel Saver” technology on the Ram 1500 includes the eight-speed automatic transmission, a stop-start feature that reduces idling, and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension. Other key features include a remote central locking system that secures the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate, combined with the power door locks.

Ram Heavy Duty (2500-3500) Pickups: The new 2013 Ram Heavy Duty pickups feature more horsepower, B-20 biofuel capability and improved fuel economy with the new 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel powertrain. Both the Cummins diesel and the Hemi gas powertrains feature new six-speed automatic and exclusive manual transmissions.

The optional 6.7-liter Cummins diesel produces 370 horsepower at 2,800 rotations per minute with 850 pound-feet of torque, and the standard 5.7-liter Hemi V8 delivers 383 horsepower with 400 pound-feet of torque. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is now available on Ram 3500 models. Diesel-equipped Ram pickup models feature a new diesel exhaust after-treatment system that enables a 15,000-mile oil-change interval while contributing to a 10 percent fuel-economy gain.

New frames on the Ram Heavy Duty models feature high-strength steel, eight cross member construction, hydroformed main rails, fully boxed rear rails and optional fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitch mounting provisions. The conventional trailer hitch system has been upgraded to Class 5 with a 17,000-pound load capability and 1,800 pounds of tongue weight capacity for use with 2-inch and 2.5-inch receiver hitches.

Ram 3500-5500 Chassis Cabs: The new 2013 Ram Chassis Cab models include significant upgrades to powertrain, frame, suspension, body, electrical architecture and interior. In the Chassis Cab models, the optional 6.7-liter Cummins produces 325 horsepower with 750 pound-feet of torque, and the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 delivers 383 horsepower with 400 pound-feet of torque. A new Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic transmission handles higher diesel output and offers enhanced Power Take-Off (PTO) capability.

A dual-inlet “Ram Active Air” feature on diesel models adjusts induction according to driving conditions for optimal performance, while advanced diesel engine cooling enables 25 percent more heat rejection for harsh duty cycles compared with the previous design. The powertrain is protected by a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.

New frame improvements include high-strength steel, eight cross member construction, C-channel rear rails to ensure continued unsurpassed noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), and ride and handling characteristics. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is standard on all models.

Upfitting with bodies and equipment is made easier and less expensive with innovative features including integration of “Powernet” technology that enables the expansion of feature content by adding bandwidth to the truck’s electrical architecture and a new Vehicle System Interface Module (VSIM).

Ram C/V (Cargo Van): The Ram C/V features a solid sliding door, a rear quarter-window and backlight privacy panels in place of clear glass windows as standard equipment. However, buyers have the option of equipping the C/V with several combinations of solid and glass panels, including a choice of solid or glass backlight.

The Ram C/V also features a structural aluminum rear load floor. Three flooring options are available, including one with a flat, uninterrupted, high-capacity surface. A second optional floor provides through-the-floor access to three storage bins and load floor tie-downs. A third option is to delete the load floor.

The Ram C/V provides a 1,800-pound payload and towing capability up to 3,600 pounds. With a 20-gallon fuel tank and 25 mpg highway rating, the C/V also delivers extended fuel range. Featuring 155.5 cubic feet of interior storage, cargo access is maximized via the Ram C/V’s front seats, rear liftgate and dual sliding doors.

A commercial-tuned ride and heavy-duty suspension offer maximum hauling capability, while a heavy-duty radiator and heavy-duty transmission oil cooler help meet heavier powertrain demands. The Ram C/V has a maximum GCW of 8,750 pounds.

The 2013 Ram C/V is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transaxle. The Pentastar V6 delivers 283 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque, without sacrificing fuel economy.

Safety features on the Ram C/V include active head restraints, advanced multistage front airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, tire-pressure monitoring sensor, driver’s side inflatable knee bolster air bag, electronic stability control, keyless entry with immobilizer and a tire pressure monitoring warning lamp.

Website: ramtrucks.com


Western Star

Western Star recently added the 4700 tractor to its on-highway vocational line. Originally launched in 2011 as a straight-truck, demand quickly grew for a tractor version. “The response from our vocational customers has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re excited to expand our offerings to new markets and customers that have been eager to experience the quality and customization of a Western Star,” said Guy Lemieux, Western Star’s marketing segment manager, in a statement.

Available in a day-cab configuration with a set-forward or set-back front axle, the 4700 tractor incorporates a sloped hood for high visibility in crowded urban operating environments, as well as a wide variety of fifth wheel and wheelbase selections, ideal for local delivery applications.

The 4700 tractor also features a broad range of power offerings. From the Cummins ISC and ISL engines to the Detroit DD13, the 4700 features power ratings from 260 to 470 horsepower. Those powerplants can be combined with several transmission offerings including the Allison automatic, Eaton manual and Eaton UltraShift Plus.

 Website: westernstartrucks.com