Clean Trucks Could Mean a Clean Future

Posted on 24. May, 2012 by in Auto News

The 2012 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo was held last week in Southern California, and it had record-breaking crowds. Fleets, sellers and buyers, tank makers, technology companies and entrepreneurs with alternative fuels mixed and blended for the three-day event, all done in the name of cleaner fuel alternatives in vehicles work.

Simply walking from the six or seven rows of exhibition carpet in Long Beach Convention Center, a casual observer might conclude that the future of commercial truck drivelines are plug-in hybrid and a natural gas engine. And it would not be wrong.

However, the large sums of money at the show was the interest in compressed air and natural gas conversions and factory offered engines for lighter and heavier trucks With the abundance of natural gas in this country, see a lot of them as the strongest transition candidate about our dependence on Middle East oil reducing.

Here are some of the highlights from the show:

Two of the most exciting displays were companies show their advanced plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) technology on a half-ton pickup platform. Rumors around the convention halls suggested that GM, the next-gen half-ton already contacted PHEV technology, ready to Leap ahead all other manufacturers. For now, the only GM vehicle was marked here the bi-fuel Chevy Silverado HD extended-cab long bed on display.

The PHEV system was shown by Quantum, was an all-wheel-drive Ford F-150 that uses both types of four-wheel-drive controls: Soil stick and instrument panel-mounted electronic dial. We take is at one of them for a different purpose. Also, we were told, Quantum deliver just signed an agreement with Remy International, the compact and powerful HVH250 electric motor (similar to that used by Via Motors) parent for Quantum PHEV fleet trucks. The new plug-in hybrid drive train takes a toll on load (with only 900 pounds) and towing (maximum £ 5,800).

Another interesting display was Hino, which shows off a glimpse of the new class 4 and 5 COE (cab over engine) work truck with hybrid drive. The strategy is similar to the Toyota Prius: It runs on full electric power up to a certain speed when the computer controller determines when the engine – in this case, a thick four-cylinder turbo-diesel – can run efficiently. The system uses nickel-metal hydride batteries, and it looks like this could easily be adapted to the half-ton or three-quarter-ton platforms. Whether that means the system will go into a Toyota Tundra or F-150 first (remember the Ford-Toyota partnership?) If the representative can not tell Hino. This particular system was started over 20 years ago, and it looks like get a few more improvements before we see something from him in the coming years. Finally, because government incentives – namely a $ 15,000 loan – the Hino hybrid costs less than the base model turbo diesel.

Westport – a long-time global player in natural gas conversions and bi-fuel applications, and a top-tier supplier for Ford – also made headlines at the show by promoting an East Coast tour, it is going to do with the latest F- 250 bi-fuel heavy trucks, all this week. Stops are: Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. The tour is designed to make more people understand that, the $ 9,750 upfit you pay yourself, in most cases in less than three years. The key to greater acceptance of CNG will be the strengthening of the refueling infrastructure. On a related note, we get an exclusive first look at one of the Ford Fleet and Commercial bi-fuel CNG Super Dutys – a 6.2-liter V-8 F-250, the only one range of 650 miles with a tank has (s) of fuel. We have more to report after we live with the car for a while.

GM and Ram Truck had their own bi-fuel truck at the show, and they seemed busy describing the systems prospective fleet buyers and explains the benefits for all interested passersby. This Ram model is the only system built in a factory production facility.

An ad that caught our attention was Power Solutions, which had installed a cool looking big-block gas engine with an Eaton hybrid powertrain. On closer inspection it was a natural gas converted GM 8.8-liter big-block V-8 (literally punched 8.1-liter) conservatively at 400 horsepower and 500 pounds-feet of torque. The company has a strong business with a replacement for the thousands of GM HD work trucks out there with the old 8.1-liter V-8 powertrain. The versatile engine – which can be set up to CNG, LNG, propane, natural gas, bivalent, burn almost anything – will cost about $ 15,000.

The first ACT expo last year, was an extension of the Low Carbon Fuel Conference Series, and it was only about half the size of this year's event to show the total number of participants and visitors. The Expo will happen again next year, move to Washington, DC, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Clean Cities Coalition Act. Dates are 24th June to 27. For more information about the ACT expo, click here.