truck news

Building the F-150 , America’s best-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and best-selling vehicle for 32 years, is not an easy task, and Ford knows it must raise the bar with each new generation or facelift.

The Blue Oval already did that in 2014 by gifting the 2015 F-150 with an aluminum-alloy body, a benchmark in the truck industry, but lighter sheet alone won’t cut it. The new F-150 needs to remain tough and become more capable, and with the new CAFE regulations just around the corner, more efficient.

The brand-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 might just be enough for the job, but with no official performance and consumption figures in sight, we can only speculate about its capability to take on the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel , the most fuel efficient light-duty, full-size truck you can buy nowadays.

As far as toughness is concerned, Ford invested a lot of effort and money into testing the new truck by putting it through a series of grueling trials. The 2015 F-150 endured both extremely hot and freezing temperatures, got its body and chassis twisted for days, took corrosion baths and had 55-gallon drums dropped into its bed over and over again.

While some of these tests aren’t exactly new, Ford did develop new ways to test its trucks. Among its new torture equipment there’s a special rack that twists and shakes the vehicle seven ways simultaneously, with forces stressing both the frame and the body. And that’s just one of the extreme tests the new F-150 has been subjected to, with nine more available below.

Click past the jump to view the torture tests.

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Tired of your old Kenworth truck? No reason to worry, as Kenworth has made available a series of glider kits for the T660, T800 and W900L models. The glider kits can be mated to customer-supplied EPA 2004 engines and matching transmissions.

Alan Fennimore, vocational marketing manager declared, “We’re offering the gliders as both rolling and non-rolling models (customer supplies driveline, axles, suspensions, wheels, tires and other ‘rolling’ equipment) and no FET tax is included from Kenworth. Depending upon the project’s final cost, and if the host parts came from a useable truck, the 12% Federal Excise Tax (FET) on new trucks may not be applicable, which can be a real money saver for customers.”

FET will apply when a glider kit is used to repair a wrecked truck vehicle, or change its intended service or where the restoration cost exceeds 75% of the value.

Mr. Fennimore added: “There are several other engine-related components – such as electrical harnesses, power steering pumps, batteries and air cleaners – that customers need to supply themselves, or purchase from Paccar Parts through their local Kenworth dealerships, but for the truck itself, it’s a very complete package.”

Concluding the report, Fennimore said that the interest for gliders has started to grow in the latest years, hence their decision, “Gliders are a great alternative for fleets and owner operators with the tools and service technicians to bring a solid and existing powertrain back to life in a ‘brand new truck’. We’ve talked with several fleets that plan to purchase gliders and have their service technicians work on the conversions during slow or off periods. It can be an effective use of shop hours.”

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Mack’s models are among the best truck’s you’ll find on today’s market and the company was always a leader when it comes to comfort and new technologies.

The company has recently made available a new series of features for the Pinnacle model, designed to increase the driver’s comfort.

Jerry Warmkessel, Mack highway marketing manager declared, “Driver retention is critical, and one way to positively impact that is to improve driver comfort. A comfortable driver is also a more productive, safer driver. We listened to what our customers told us they wanted in their cabs, and we’re delivering it with this series of interior enhancements that result in a more comfortable, productive cab environment.”

Mack’s new features include an optional center storage console with interior lightening and a 12 volt power slot. There is also a new optional ambient floor lightning and a standard rest pedal for the driver’s left foot.

The Pinnacle’s cab will be fitted from now on with a new standard dash-mounted single DIN Mack mDrive automated manual transmission shifter.

Mack has come also up with a series of improvements to the PowerLash and Engine brake controls to improve the driving performances.

Other new features include self-cancelling turn signals and a remote in-dash sleeper auxiliary HVAC switch which is standard for 70-inch and 60-inch sleepers and optional for the 56-inch and 48-inch sleepers.

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Hino has announced that this fall will launch a new cabover Class 5 medium duty truck platform. The new 195 truck will come with a gross vehicle weight of 19,500-lb and is powered by a 5.0 liter diesel engine which develops 210 hp and 440 lb.ft of torque. Moreover, the new Hino 195 can be also ordered with a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain.

Glenn Ellis, Hino’s vp-marketing declared, “The launch of this new cabover product line offers Hino dealers an opportunity to reach new customers. Over the past several months, the management team at Hino has monitored the truck market rebound, the U.S. economy, and foreign currency exchange rates to develop a plan that supported our customers and dealers in the short term, while sustaining a business model for the long term. With these factors in mind, the introduction of our cabover truck is on track.”

The diesel engine uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust emission aftertreatment system to meet EPA’s 2010 emission standards.

For the start the Hino 195 hybrid models will be delivered only in California with the rest of US markets to follow.

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Allison is now the standard transmission for Freightliner’s natural-gas vehicles, including the new Cascadia 113 natural gas day cab tractor.

Freightliner said that the Allison transmissions are the perfect choice for their natural gas trucks, thanks to their torque converter technology which improves the engines performances.

Robert Carrick, vocational sales manager – natural gas, for Freightliner Trucks declared, “Allison transmissions are the ideal option for alternative fuel vehicles because of their torque converter technology that results in improved startability at the launch of the vehicle, full power shifts and better performance.”

The Freightliner Cascadia will get the Allison 4000 Series Transmission, while the M2112 and 114SD trucks (equipped with Cummins Westport ISL G 8.9L engine) will be mated on Allison’s 3000 Series transmission.

Jim Wanaselja, vice president North American marketing, sales and service, for Allison Transmission said, “Natural gas technology is an exciting option in the commercial trucking market and we’re proud that Allison is a leader in this area. Customers anxious to experience the new Cascadia 113 natural gas tractor will be able to take advantage of all that natural gas engines have to offer while getting Allison’s renowned reliability, durability and performance.”

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As the new Euro 6 Emission standards are just over the corner as they’ll be available from Jan 1, 2014, Volvo has struggle to go in front of the pack and revealed its new Euro 6 engine developed especially for trucks. The new D13 engine develops a maximum output of 413 hp between 1400 -1900 and will be available for order in spring 2013. The engine is standard with a Volvo I-Shift automated transmission.

Mats Franzén, manager of engine strategy and planning at Volvo Trucks declared: “By offering our most popular engine in Euro 6 configuration, we meet the needs of a large proportion of our customers. The rest of the Euro 6 engine range will be launched well before the requirements become obligatory.”

The new Euro 6 standards will cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 20% from current Euro 5 engine standards and cut particulate emissions 50%.

“We have developed a reliable solution that not only meets the emission requirements but also gives customers added benefits in the form of good fuel economy and trouble-free ownership,” added Franzén.

To achieve these efficiency standards, the in-line 6-cylinder D13 engine uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology in combination with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a diesel particulate filter.

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Volvo was always at the front of the pack when it comes to safety features and efficiency and the company announced that it has developed a new system which uses the kinetic energy to increase efficiency with up to 5 percent.

The new feature is called the I-See and uses the transmission’s tilt sensor and the truck’s momentum to improve the efficiency. Basically the I-See acts as an autopilot which controls gear changes, throttle and brakes offering the best possible mix to return lower fuel consumption.

Anders Eriksson, product developer at Volvo Trucks declared: “If kinetic energy can be exploited to a greater extent, it may help cut fuel consumption. This will benefit both the environment and the industry’s economy, something that is very important today as fuel costs are becoming an increasingly heavy burden on many haulage firms.”

Mr. Anders Eriksson added, “If kinetic energy can be exploited to a greater extent, it may help cut fuel consumption. This will benefit both the environment and the industry’s economy, something that is very important today as fuel costs are becoming an increasingly heavy burden on many haulage firms.”

The system will prove handy especially when the truck needs to deal with undulating roads with steep slopes, as the system helps the truck to freewheel. In this way I-See also spares the life of service brakes and tires.

Mr. Eriskon explained: “It is this freewheeling capability that makes the system special. When the truck rolls freely, virtually no fuel is used. But in order to freewheel, a whole lot of data is required.”

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Freightliner has recently revealed the first details about the new Cascadia Evolution that will be introduced as a 2014 model. In a press conference held not long ago, the company declared that theirnew Cascadia Evolution will be able to offer up to a 7% fuel economy improvement compared with the current model.

To prove that they are talking serious about the performances of the new model the company had organized a series of real-world tests hosted at Freightliner’s manufacturing facility in Detroit.

Mr. Tim Tindall, director-engine & component sales for Detroit, was the host of the event and said that 40 new Cascadia Evolution models were handed in customers’ hands to be tested.

Ten of these tractors were equipped with DD13 engines and had day cab configurations, while the rest of 30 vehicles were fitted with the new DD15 engine and came with sleeper cabs.

Tindall said, “All of these trucks are equipped with the visibility package [which is part of Virtual Technician], so we can look at fuel consumption at anytime on any of these customer trucks. The program is aimed at showing that the truck does what we say it does and that the reliability is what we say it is.”

After the tests, Tindall revealed that the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution scored a 6.7 % improvement in fuel economy compared to the original Cascadia.

The second step of this demonstration will be made in September, when 61 additional Cascadia Evolution trucks will be delivered for extra tests. The trucks will be fitted with both DD15 (35 units) and DD15 (26 units ) engines and 16 of the DD15 models will also get the new Detroit DT12 transmission.

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The new Nissan NV400 is a highly versatile vehicle and it’s available in a wide range of configurations. While until now the company didn’t revealed too many details about its range of factory build NV400 conversions, now it has finally decided to break the silence.

The new Nissan NV400 is now available in six and nine seat minibuses, crew vans and both single and double cab dropside and tipper conversions. Apart from the models listed above the new Nissan NV400 will be also available as a box van, Luton and refrigerated van, plus a 14-17 seat minibus.

Firstly, the NV400 chassis cab is offered in a total of 13 versions with mid or long wheel bases and single or twin rear wheel drive. The NV400 chassis cab is powered by the 2.5 dCi diesel engine which is available in two power outputs – 125 hp and 150 hp.

The NV400 minibus offers space for up to nine people but it’s also available with a six seats configuration. This version has a starting price of £26,575 and comes with a choice of two engines with 100 hp and 125 hp on tap.

Appealing to those seeking for crew transportations, the crew van comes with seven seats and a generous load area. For this version you’ll have to pay not less than £25,565 and you can choose from numerous payloads of up to 1398 kg and both front or rear wheel drive configurations.

There is also a dropside model on offer, with a starting price of £23,365 for the single cab and £25,765 for the double cab. The Nissan NV400 dropside is offered with a choice of either single three seat or a double seven seat cab, front or rear wheel drive and a range of payloads up to 1,462kg.

For those looking for a reliable construction partner designed to go head to head with arduous working conditions without backing down, Nissan offers its NV400 tipper. The tipper’s load deck tilts automatically at 45 degree for easy unloading and comes with a wide range of payloads of up to 1,227kg. This model is offered in two versions with prices starting from £24,765 for the single cab and £27,165 for the double cab.

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Eaton has made a series of upgrades to its hybrid power systems for trucks. Among the most significant modifications there is a more performant battery, a higher capacity clutch and a new single phase 115 volt AC auxiliary Power Generator (APG).

Thanks to the new lithium-ion battery the fuel efficiency of the system was increased with up to 10 %. Moreover, the new battery more than doubles the engine-off capability of the system and extends battery life.

Kevin Beaty, product strategy and manufacturing operations and strategic sourcing manager, hybrid power systems for Eaton said, “Not only will fleets realize greater fuel efficiency and reduced C02 emissions, but drivers will notice faster acceleration with the updated hybrid propulsion system. The new battery is designed to allow for simplified servicing of internal components.”

The new APG is smaller and 25 lbs lighter than the previous model, so it will be easier to install. Talking about the new APG, Gerard DeVito, engineering director said, “The new APG unit offers a soft-start function that can handle high inrush loads that require an immediate boost of power. The APG is also a fully isolated system from the high-voltage battery, which eliminates the need for a separate isolating transformer to further reduce cost and weight.”

The high-capacity battery and APG will be available from the fourth quarter of this year for serve utility applications and the new battery will be also introduced for beverage tractor applications in the third quarter of 2012.

Besides the aforementioned upgrades, the company also offers more performant clutches that can deal with engines up to 860 lb-ft of torque and 300 HP.

The company has announced that it will start to offer remanufactured batteries in July which will be significantly cheaper than the new ones.
Beaty declared, “Fleets can now extend the life of their hybrid power system for a fraction of the cost of new service units. Our goal is to provide the greatest possible value to hybrid customers who want more sustainable fleets at the best possible cost.”

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