Gasoline engines are gaining popularity in a market typically dominated by diesels.
That’s why Mitsubishi Fuso unveiled a gas version of its FE180 Class 5 truck Wednesday at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
“We understand from our research that many diesel Class 5 truck owners want increased power allowing for more payload,” said Justin Palmer, president and chief executive of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America.
The new truck is designed to appeal to a growing segment of customers looking for a truck with a lot of capability and a gasoline engine. The gasoline version joins Mitsubishi Fuso’s diesel Class 5 truck and rounds out its gas offerings throughout its lineup, which includes a Class 3 and 4 truck.
The Class 5 segment is mostly powered by diesel engines. Ford has an updated 6.7-liter Power Stroke, and Ram Trucks has a new 6.7-liter Cummins that delivers 850 pound-feet of torque. But both of those companies offer gasoline engines in addition to diesel.
“Customers aren’t looking for the complexity of diesel,” Palmer told Trucks.com. “When emissions controls fail, it can lead to costly downtime. For some customers, a gasoline makes the most sense.”
Diesel trucks also often carry a significant price premium over their gasoline counterparts.
“When gasoline is the same price as diesel, it’s hard to justify the upgrade cost,” said Antti Lindstrom, a trucking analyst at IHS Markit. “It’s easier to find gas engine mechanics, and many drivers are more comfortable with gas.
“Gas trucks are more popular now. It’s easier to find gas stations than diesel stations, too.”
The General Motors-built 6-liter V-8 gasoline engine in the FE180 generates 297 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an Allison 1000 unit and is more versatile for those who need specialty equipment on the road.
The transmission has FuelSense 2.0 featuring DynActive Shifting to help save fuel. These systems improve shifting patterns, resulting in a fuel economy boost of 2 to 6 percent.
Power windows and cruise control are standard, improving driver comfort. These trucks are often used for full work shifts, with drivers entering and exiting the truck regularly to make deliveries. Mitsubishi also added larger 19.5-inch tires based on customer feedback. Other markets use 17.5-tires.
The company also is testing a fully electric version of its FE180 Class 5 truck that has a range of 60 to 80 miles.
The FE gas series, including the new larger truck, are built at Daimler’s truck plant in Gaffney, S.C. The FE180 gas truck will be available in the fourth quarter of 2019 as a 2020 model.