The 2019 Work Truck Show was more about gauging customer interest in electric trucks than stunning product introductions.
Freightliner offered walkarounds of the eM2 medium-duty that it is providing to Penske Truck Leasing to field test. Spartan Motors showed two Utilimaster electric models, each powered by a different supplier. Ford filled in its lineup of medium-duty trucks with the new F-600, while startup XL Fleet Electrification showed a plug-in hybrid F-250 Super Duty pickup. Navistar showed its badged versions of the medium-duty trucks it is making for General Motors.
Trucks.com walked the aisles of the massive Indiana Convention Center to pick the best offerings.
2020 FORD F-600
The Ford F-600 is an all-new addition to the brand’s chassis cab lineup. It’s the size of an F-550, or Class 5 truck, but with the capability of a Class 6 truck with a gross weight rating of 22,000 pounds. Its target is customers who want to downsize from a bigger truck without losing the capability to which they have become accustomed. The F-600 is available with an updated version of Ford’s Power Stroke diesel or the company’s new 7.3-liter big-block V-8. It’s available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and uses Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. It will be built alongside Ford’s other medium-duty offerings in northeast Ohio.
Since series production does not begin until at least 2021, why did the Freightliner division of Daimler Trucks North America bring its eM2 medium-duty to the Work Truck Show? “Even though we’re talking about a couple years away, it’s important to communicate to the vocational fleets and manufacturers what our development approach is,” said Greg Treinen, Freightliner manager of alternative-fuel vehicles. The eM2 can travel 200 miles per charge and recharge to 80 percent in an hour. A Santa Claus in a green Santa suit delivered the first eM2 to Penske Truck Leasing last December. Plenty of folks crowded around the eM2 at the Work Truck Show.
FORD XLP F-250
XL Fleet Electrification got a jump on Ford’s own plans for electrifying the F-150 light-duty pickup when it delivered plug-in hybrid F-150s to several cities last year. At the Work Truck Show, XL made good on its February announcement of a plug-in hybrid F-250 Super Duty. The plug-in XLP F-250 will provide up to a 50 percent improvement in miles per gallon versus gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks, XL said. Greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to fall by 33 percent during normal operation based on results of F-150 tests conducted at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified testing facilities. Customer deliveries are planned to begin late this year.
UTILIMASTER WALK-IN ELECTRIC VAN
The Utilimaster unit of Spartan Motors Inc. revealed two electric chassis for medium-duty work trucks, including a collaboration with Motiv Power Systems on a Class 5 walk-in van. Utilimaster claims the van will have 85 percent lower operating costs and require 66 percent less maintenance over its life compared with a traditionally powered van. The chassis is powered by lithium-ion batteries and features automatic electronic braking and a 360-degree camera system with a 9-inch, high-definition in-dash display. Utilimaster also showed an electric chassis developed with Cummins Inc. for parcel delivery. It has an 85-mile range and 3,200-pound payload and recharges in less than six hours. The Utilimaster Reach is available for ordering.
NAVISTAR CV MEDIUM-DUTY SERIES
The Navistar International Corp. medium-duty trucks were the top pick of the 2018 Work Truck Show – as Chevrolet and GMC models. This year, Navistar showed its CV Series, beefier versions that fill a Class 4/5 hole in its lineup. Unlike Detroit automakers that reach up in weight class to offer medium-duty work trucks and chassis for upfitters, Navistar drops down from its heavy-duty models to the medium-duty classes. Navistar is not competing with GM directly. “For us, the main customers already buy our severe and heavy-duty trucks because they are used to our distribution network,” said Mark Stasell, Navistar vice president of vocational truck business. Customer deliveries are underway.