Tag Archives: Commercial

Takeaways from the 2019 NTEA Work Truck Show

The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) hosted its annual Work Truck Show last week, March 5-8, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

While most tradeshows focus on innovation and new tech in passenger cars, the Work Truck Show caters exclusively to heavy duty vehicles used in a wide range of jobs. While the focus is a little different, this year’s Work Truck Show focused on some of the same issues that have also been hot topics for passenger car enthusiasts. Here are the top takeaways from the 2019 NTEA Work Truck Show:

Electricity and Green Trucks – Several manufacturers displayed new electric models at the show, while the NTEA hosted a green truck panel focused on the long-term goal of zero emission work vehicles. Freightliner brought its eM2 Class 7, a medium duty electric truck, a vehicle set for production in 2021. Fuso also brought the latest version of its eCanter truck, an electric vehicle designed for short term hauling in urban environments, while Spartan Motors introduced two electric vehicles of their own. While many believe we ar a long way from fully electrified fleets, it’s clear that heavy duty vehicle manufacturers have taken interest in the technology.

Diesel Still Rules – Electric trucks may be the future, but its clear diesel trucks aren’t going away any time soon. A majority of the trucks at this year’s show were diesel powered, including Navistar’s new International CV Class 4 and Class 5. Fuso, Isuzu, Ford, Nissan and several other manufacturers presented one or several new diesel vehicles.

Ford Fills Out its Lineup – Ford introduced a new F-600, a smaller, scaled down version of its F-650 chassis. The American automaker is the only company that produces a full line of trucks, from its F-150 all the way up through its F-750. Other American automakers also announced changes to their lineups, as Chrysler debuted commercial versions of its heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks and chassis cabs.

Inside the Cabin – Many of the automakers that presented showed off improved interior trims, onboard computers and other safety tech. The aforementioned Ram Heavy Duty trucks will include new and improved informational displays at all trim levels. Preco Electronics also announced updates to it’s blind spot platform Side Defender, adding new audio and visual alerts and improving its lane change assist feature.

Meeting the Challenges of Commercial Fleet Management

From repairs to logistics and everything in between, maintaining a commercial fleet presents a huge range of challenges that can trip up even the most experienced professionals.

Fleets have many moving parts to maintain and new technology has made maintenance even more difficult. According to Greg Wyatt, Commercial Fleet Manager for PetroChoice, the most important aspect of fleet managing is keeping down time to a minimum. Having a vehicle out of service can lead to losses in production and extended down time can be a major drag on efficiency, customer satisfaction and profitability.

“There is a Service Technician shortage and getting trucks repaired in a timely fashion is always a challenge,” Wyatt said. “Modern trucks are very complex and troubleshooting sophisticated electronic systems, especially exhaust after-treatment systems, is challenging.”

Related: Learn more about PetroChoice’s products and services for commercial vehicles

Wyatt said having a thorough inspection protocol during the maintenance process is important, and it’s something that too few fleet managers focus on. He also called out record keeping, scheduling and not utilizing oil analysis as weak spots for many in the industry.

“In most cases, fleet directors have not been shown the many potential benefits of testing and do not realize that this analysis can prevent costly system failures,” he said.

As truck engines evolve with technological advances, fleet managers need to keep re-evaluating the lubricants they are using in their vehicles. Wyatt said he sees the industry continue to rely on conventional 15W-40 motor oils while most OEMs have moved on to other products.

“All major OEM’s are currently factory-filling with 10W-30 API CK specified oils,” Wyatt said. “These oils are designed for today’s modern engines. They are proven to reduce wear at start-up and can provide significant fuel savings especially on large fleets. In addition, use of synthetics for transmission and differentials provides significantly extended service life and component life lowering the fleet total cost of ownership.”

Related: New Bill Would Exempt Small Trucking Companies from ELD Mandate

Newer technology can help streamline the maintenance process and provide valuable insight on all aspects of a vehicle.

“The trucks computers are very advanced and many have abilities to provide instant fuel economy readings and report back to the fleets on service warnings and error codes to provide advance troubleshooting before the truck arrives at a service center,” Wyatt said. “The electronics will continue to advance as well as technology tools for Fleet directors, drivers and technicians.”

Still, all that technology will do little to help if fleet managers aren’t using the correct lubricants. Wyatt advises that the best lubricants will meet OEM specifications, but also provide the right protection each unique fleet needs. Between heavy loads or light loads, local deliveries or cross-country hauling, heavy vocation or high idle, different fleets have vastly different requirements. Some would be well served using long draining lubricants, while others need to explore different options. Wyatt said balance is key to choosing the right product.

“It is about the correct balance, and this again has to take into account the specific component to be lubricated, how severe the application is, what type of fuel is being used, what the average fuel consumption is, what the load is or whether there is severe duty,” Wyatt said. “Once all of these details are determined the correct lubricant can be recommended to provide the service level necessary to achieve the goals of the user.”

CVSA Announces Safe Driver Week Crackdown

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced its annual Operation Safe Driver Week will take place July 15-21.

The group partners with local law enforcement throughout North America to crack down on seat belt enforcement, traffic violations, roadside inspections and regulatory compliance.  They will also focus on distracted driving, texting and compliance with local traffic laws.

During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, the CVSA reported almost 39,000 citations and warnings were issued to commercial vehicle drivers.  An overwhelming majority of those, 84 percent, were for state and local moving violations.  Speeding (7.4 percent), failure to use a seat belt (2.6 percent), failure to obey a traffic control device (2.5 percent) and using a cell phone (0.8 percent) round out the top five.

Learn more about commercial vehicle services available through PetroChoice