BMW and John Deere Tease Hybrid Backhoe Concept
Talk about an unconventional partnership producing an even more unconventional product. The legendary heavy equipment brand John Deere has teamed up with Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW, to create a hybrid backhoe built from futuristic materials and integrated high-tech features. It’s called the Fixstern, which in German means fixed star. Like navigating by the stars, the Fixstern will act as guidance and inspiration for John Deere’s future products.
The backhoe isn’t a reality just yet, but the concept is a test bed for out-of-the-box thinking. John Deere and Designworks set out with several goals: high functionality, reduce weight by 20 percent, decrease environmental impact by 10 percent, decrease manufacturing costs, improve the user experience, and to address changing market demands.
Meeting these expectations involves using lighter materials that are still extremely strong. The backhoe’s weight has been distributed lower along the extended wheelbase. Stabilizer bars on the front axle help with road-going stability and are rather rare on backhoes. Airless radial tires are said to further improve stability while being completely impervious to flats. The backhoe also features a “tuck” feature with its digging arm, giving it a shorter overall length for parking or on-road driving. The entire rear section, including the rear axle, is designed to pivot for tight maneuverability and is controlled by electronic four-wheel steering. Deere hasn’t divulged any details regarding that hybrid powertrain, however.
Deere also concentrated on making the operator happy. The cab is larger and its door is wider – both thanks to the longer wheelbase. The seat is also insulated from the backhoe’s frame for better vibration resistance. The in-dash tech includes communication with a fleet supervisor for preventative maintenance and the project supervisor for getting the construction job done right.
The Fixstern might not be pushing dirt anytime soon, but the ideas will likely evolve modern heavy equipment for the better.
Continue reading for more information.
Geneva is cool and all, but Chevy has a new truck
Chevrolet is expanding its range of commercial-grade trucks with the new Low Cab Forward 6500XD. This medium-duty truck isn’t found at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Rather, it helps General Motors expand it reach into the commercial segment, thanks in part to Isuzu.
This isn’t the first Low Cab Forward Chevy has announced. GM re-entered the LCF segment in 2015 thanks to that partnership with Isuzu. A longtime player in the LCF market, Isuzu benefitted from GM’s extensive sales and servicing departments. The duo launched several flavors of the LCF, including the 3500, 3500HD, 4500, 4500HD, 5500, and 5500HD models – each coming with several engine options and wheelbase lengths.
The new 6500XD features a taller suspension and frame, making it compatible with loading docks. It comes powered by an Isuzu-sourced 5.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel making 520 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed by an Allison 2500 Series, six-speed automatic transmission with a power take-off unit. Heavy-duty Dana axles are present, too. Eight wheelbase lengths are available, ranging from 16 feet to 30 feet, allowing the 6500XD to be upfitted with a 30-foot box. Payload ratings range from 11,374 pounds up to 13,786 pounds, while the gross vehicle weight rating sits at 25,950 pounds. Axle ratings are 12,000 pounds up front and 19,000 pounds out back.
There’s more past the jump, so keep reading.
Continue reading for the full story.
Hennessey Squeezes 600 Horses From EcoBoost V-6 in 2017 VelociRaptor!
Hennessey Performance is carrying on its tradition of building a high-horsepower version of Ford’s F-150 Raptor pickup truck. Along with the engine modifications, the Texas-based performance shop usually adds steel bumpers, aftermarket wheels, and meatier tires to Ford’s already impressive truck. The same is true for the 2017 version. And Hennessey manages to squeeze 600 horsepower from the Raptor’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6!
Yep, you read that right – this small-displacement V-6 is capable of producing 605 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an whopping 622 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. That’s well above the 2017 Raptor’s stock output of 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.
That pushes the Raptor’s 0-to-60 mph time down to 4.2 seconds, while completing the quarter-mile in just 12.9 seconds at 110 mph. That’s insanely fast for a lifted off-road pickup!
Hennessey does this by adding several performance goodies, including a high-flow air induction system, an air-to-air intercooler upgrade, a catback exhaust upgrade, and a recalibration of the EcoBoost’s software. Fine tuning on the dyno and road testing ensure a complete build. What’s more, Hennessey warranties the package for three years or 36,000 miles.
The upgrade is called the Hennessey VelociRaptor 600, indicating its horsepower rating. The company also has a VelociRaptor 500 and VelociRaptor 700 in the works.
Of course, the engine upgrade isn’t the only piece to the multi-part puzzle. Keep reading for the full run-down.
Continue reading to learn more about the Hennessey VelociRaptor 600.
How Clever is this Hidden Toolbox?
Truck folks are an innovative bunch, but this custom truck bed toolbox takes the cake for ingenious design. Hidden behind the stock sheet metal of this Ford Super Duty lies a one-off shelving system deep enough for tools, spare parts, and hardware. An electric or hydraulic piston lifts the bedwall up for easy access. It almost resembles a utility bed used by government agencies or contractors.
The short video shows just how handy the hidden toolbox can be – not to mention its quick operation. A lever near the tailgate allows the sheet metal to raise, making it a one-handed task. Someone in the video also says both sides of the truck bed feature this system.
The interior of the cargo bed features new walls placed further inboard, much like the RamBox system on Ram’s pickups. A spay-on bedliner adds protection to the metal, while keeping the surface non-slip. And though the square-footage of the cargo bed has been decreased, it still seems wide enough for a standard pallet. What’s more, with all the tools properly stored in the shelving, space inside the bed is reserved for larger objects. Best of all, the tools are locked safety away from sticky fingers and the weather.
So this begs the question: Should this idea be adopted by an automaker? If so, what truck brand would you like to see utilize this system? Let us know in the comments below.
Jeep Confirms Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer & Pickup Truck
FCA Boss Sergio Marchionne has officially confirmed the long-rumored Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The news serves as confirmation that Jeep will indeed seek to compete against big-name luxury brands like Range Rover, while expanding its Wrangler lineup to appeal to SUV and truck-leaning market trends. What’s more, news reports from the auto show floor say Marchionne confirmed both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will ride on ladder-frame chassis.
This news is the cherry on top of FCA’s recent shake-up regarding its North American assembly plants and its committed investment into U.S. manufacturing and job creation.
Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. Currently the Ram 1500 pickup is assembled here, but will move to the near-by Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which is now free after FCA ended production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans. FCA also announced Warren will also build the Ram Heavy Duty pickups, which are moving from Saltillo, Mexico. FCA did not mention whether the decision to relocate the Ram HD’s assembly to Michigan has anything to do with president-elect Donald Trump’s negative stance on the NAFTA trade deal.
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will continue rolling off the same Toledo Assembly line in Ohio. The Wrangler Pickup will join the Wrangler here, as well. FCA says all of these moves will be completed by 2020.
This game of musical chairs isn’t coming cheap. FCA has committed to invest nearly $1 billion to revamp both the Warren Truck Assembly Plant and the Toledo Assembly Complex. Another $700 million will be invested retooling the Sterling Heights plant and another $350 million will be invested to retool the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois to produce the Jeep Cherokee, which is moving from the Toledo plant to free space for the Wrangler Pickup.
FCA’s monetary investments will also create jobs – at least 4,000 new jobs, in fact.
Neither FCA nor Jeep made any indication as to what model year the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup would fall under. The next-generation Wrangler SUV is expected for the 2018 model year.
Continue reading for the full story.
Ford F-150 Going Hybrid by 2020!
Ford today held a press conference at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan to announce a sizeable $4.5 billion investment into U.S. manufacturing, the cancelation of its planned assembly plant in Mexico, and the push toward hybrid, electric, and autonomous vehicles. The F-150 leads the truck charge, with Ford saying the half-ton pickup will have an hybrid powertrain by 2020.
Ford further divulged the F-150 will continue being build at the Dearborn truck plant and that its hybrid powertrain will allow it to act as a mobile generator for job sites, while its payload and towing capacity will not be dramatically affected. Ford did not, however, spell out what type of hybrid system it will use. Rumors suggest the system will include an EcoBoost engine with an electric motor positioned between it and the transmission.
In addition to the F-150 Hybrid, Ford announced a fully electric crossover with a promised range of 300 miles. The unnamed vehicle will be built in Flat Rock for the 2020 model year and sell in North America, Europe, and Asia. The range exceeds that of the Tesla Model X’s current 289-mile maximum.
Ford’s new electric push includes a $700-million investment into the Flat Rock Assembly Plant and is expected to add 700 U.S. jobs. The investment is coming from the cancelled $1.8 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Most will recognize the proposed assembly plant as the target of president-elect Donald Trump’s condemnation.
While it’s unclear whether Ford’s move was directly in response to Trump, Ford’s announcement did plainly state 3,500 jobs at the Michigan Assembly plant would be safeguarded and two new “iconic products” would soon take the place of the Ford Focus. The Focus will be relocated to an existing assembly plant in Mexico.
Of course, those “iconic products” are all but officially confirmed as the Ranger pickup and Bronco SUV. Hopefully the 2017 North American International Auto Show on January 9 and 10 will bring that official word.
Continue reading for more information.
Five Awesome Truck Things That Happened in 2016
Crazy times have defined 2016, there’s no denying that. Between the outlandish election cycle, the grievous terrorist attacks around the world, and the growing list of celebrity deaths, this year has shaped up as the oddest in recent memory. However, in the automotive world, and even more specifically the truck segment, things are going extraordinarily well.
We’ve seen the debut of several new models, been teased with a handful of interesting concept trucks, and even seen automakers pull some surprises. That’s what we’re looking at here – our top five truck happenings in 2016.
Our list covers the biggest and most anticipated debuts of the year, and even the hottest rumors floating around the interwebz. From Ford and Chevrolet to Nissan and Toyota, these debuts mean big things for truck buyers and fantasizes. So without further ado, let’s jump into it.
Continue reading for more information.
New Years Celebrators in New York Will be Protected by Dump Trucks
After those insane attacks in France and Berlin that involve terrorist plowing into crowds with large trucks, the City of New York isn’t playing around when it comes to safety on New Year’s Eve. This year, those celebrating in times square will find every roadway leading up to the iconic area blocked off by dump trucks that are filled to the brim with sand – each one weighing close to 30 ton. It’s not the first time this tactic has been used, as those who live in the area will probably remember a similar security strategy being use during the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and to protect Trump tower after the 2016 election results came in.
A total of 65 salt-spreading trucks will be used out of a fleet to comes close to topping 700, but they will be sharing duty along with 7,000 NYPD officers. Talking to the NY Times,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, "We’re going to have one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world, given all the assets that we’ve employed here. And. all of this will ensure that New York City has yet another safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve celebration, as we do every year."
It should be noted that there has been no word of terrorist threats to New York for this year’s celebration, so when you see them blocking the road this year, you can rest assured knowing that they are there as a precautionary measure. And, should some terrorist faction try to ruin the celebration this year, these heavy-duty trucks are said to be capable of preventing attack by truck and are even strong enough to absorb the blast and shrapnel from bombs, if one happens to be set off. At least all of those in the area can rest assured that they are as safe as possible this year.
Keep reading for the rest of the story
2020 Nikola One
Nikola Motors has been in the news lately over its innovative yet seemingly troubled turbine hybrid electric turned hydrogen electric Class 8 semi truck concept. Well, the startup automaker has defied naysayers by actually producing a working prototype and meeting its December 2, 2016 debut deadline. Company founder and CEO Trevor Milton hosted the debut event near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah to a crowd of people from around the globe.
If you recall, the Nikola One was initially designed to be a fully electric truck with a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine acting as a range extender. Only a few months after the Nikola’s announcement of the semi truck in May 2016, the company shifted gears, concentrating on a custom-built hydrogen fuel cell-powered range extender. The change in plans planted seeds of doubt in hopeful onlookers, but Nikola Motors has seemingly made the truck a reality.
The truck is said to be 100-percent zero emissions with an 800 to 1,200-mile cruising range when fully loaded with 65,000 pounds thanks to its 320 kWh battery that generates 2,000 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque via six electric-drive motors. Nikola Motors is backing its truck with a million miles of free hydrogen fuel. Part of Nikola Motors’ business model is building a network of hydrogen stations. The initial phase has 56 stations planned, with the eventual number growing to 364 across the U.S. and south Canada. Construction is set to begin in January 2018 with an opening date in late 2019. Non-Nikola owners will be able to avail themselves of the hydrogen, but at a cost of $3.50 per kilogram.
The Nikola One is still in the development stage, but production is set to begin in 2019, with units hitting the road in 2020. The truck will be built by a third party manufacturer and will be serviced by Ryder, a current giant in the trucking industry.
CEO Trevor Milton shared a barrage of information at the One’s debut. We’ve compiled the high points in our review below, so keep reading for more. You can also watch the entire 42-minute keynote speech.
Continue reading for more information.
Toyota Changing Production Mix to Favor Pickups, SUVs
Toyota is making plans to restructure the balance of its car and truck production in the coming years. Reports suggest Toyota’s current 50/50 mix of cars to truck sales will soon swing toward the truck side, perhaps as much as 60/40. Toyota’s trucks, which include the Tacoma, Tundra, and the handful of SUVs and crossovers, have seen a dramatic rise in popularity over recent years. This plan will supposedly reallocate production volumes to favor these hot-selling vehicles.
The news comes from Automotive News who interviewed Bill Fay, the general manager of the Toyota division. "It’s not always that Toyota has a product that will stand out in the market," Fay said. “But we’re optimistic based on the feedback we’ve gotten so far." Fay is referring to Toyota’s all-new C-HR crossover that launched at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
The C-HR’s debut comes on the heels of big sales gains for Toyota’s RAV4 and Highlander. To help meet demand, Toyota is increasing the volume of RAV4s from Japan, while a newly opened assembly line in Indiana now rolls out Highlanders.
"I’m very optimistic for 2017 because we’ll have a better supply of RAV and Highlander," he said. "We’ll launch this beautiful C-HR and will be in a much better position to meet customer demand on the sport-utility side of things."
As far as Toyota’s trucks are concerned, the situation could be better. Both the Tijuana, Mexico and San Antonio, Texas assembly plants that produce the Tacoma are already at full capacity. An expansion project is already happening in Tijuana, but it won’t be operational for another year or so. That leaves a big void in supply.
Things will get even more hectic whenever Toyota launches its next-generation Tundra. The current Tundra is showing its age, but a new model with more modern and competitive features would surely see an increase in sales. Thankfully for Toyota’s production arm, the new Tundra isn’t expected until 2018 or 2019, giving time for Tijuana to complete its growth.
Fay voiced his thankfulness over production line workers not having to be laid off on the car side due to slowing sales of sedans and other small cars. "We’ve been able to move the production around in a way that we haven’t needed to lay anyone off, which is good," Fay told AN. General Motors workers weren’t so lucky as some 2,000 worker were sent home due to slumping car sales.
Continue reading for more information.
Self-Driving Semi-Truck Takes 120 Miles Trip, Delivers Beer
Surely you’ve seen the iconic 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit wherein The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and The Snow Man (Jerry Reed) dodge the hard-nosed Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) over hundreds of miles as the boys drive to Texarkana from Atlanta to bring back a load of beer in Snow Man’s 18-wheeler. If not, stop what you’re doing and watch it.
Anyway, the boys would be jealous if they saw this self-driving semi take a load of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, Colorado to Colorado Springs – all without someone behind the wheel.
The 120-mile journey took place this week thanks to the partnership between Otto and Anheuser-Busch. Otto is a self-driving truck startup founded by ex Google employees and now owned by Uber. Anheuser-Busch, of course, is the long-established brewer of Budweiser beer.
"The initial appeal for us was to see how we could meet the needs of a company like Anheuser-Busch," Otto co-founder Lior Ron told USA Today. "But now after this successful test, we’re eager to see how it will handle other roads and other weather."
James Sembrot, senior director of logistics and safety for Anheuser-Busch, says the company wanted to "see if we could help pioneer technology that will make the jobs of those shipping product easier and safer." Sembrot continued, saying, "We liked the prospect of those folks traveling safer in trucks that help improve environmental impact. There’s no question in our mind that transportation companies will want to make these improvements."
Safety is always a priority and rested drivers are generally better, safer drivers. Secondly, the environmental impact would be the decrease in fuel consumption thanks to the self-driving truck’s smooth operation.
The Otto system isn’t fully autonomous. It does require a driver for city streets and urban areas. On the highway, however, the system can be activated, allowing the truck to pilot itself while the driver can relax or sleep.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 Ssangyong Musso
Musso means “rhinoceros” in Korean, which makes sense when you consider the word’s usage in SsangYong’s model lineup. Previously used for the automaker’s mid-size, five-door SUV, the original Musso was produced between 1993 and 2005. The first Musso was sold in markets across the world, including China, Europe, Iran, and Russia, but now, the nameplate is being resurrected to replace SsangYong’s Korando Sports pick-up truck. Recently announced as the automaker’s revised one-tonne pick-up offering (a tonne is equal to 1,000 kg, or approximately 2,205 pounds), the new Musso promises big work-truck capability, a new diesel engine, an affordable price tag, and surprisingly, a family-friendly interior as well.
SsangYong is Korea’s oldest automobile producer, originally ramping up production in 1954. It’s also the nation’s only specialist producer of 4x4s and SUVs, and it sends several of its exports westward towards the U.K.
Previously, SsangYong offered British buyers the Korando Sports pick-up, but now, a name change is needed to prevent confusion with the Korando SUV.
“Our commercial vehicles represent an intrinsic part of the SsangYong range, and we decided to reintroduce the Musso name to differentiate this superb utility truck from our passenger cars,” said Paul Williams, CEO at SsangYong Motor U.K., in a press release.
Long story short, the new Musso is more than an updated Korando Sports with a different name. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the SsangYong Musso.
The Company Behind the Recent Takata Airbag Crash Ordered to Cease Operations
Remember that truck full of Takata air bags that crashed and exploded a couple of months ago, effectively leveling a house, killing one, and injuring a few others? Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been investigating the accident ever since to determine just what happened. As it turns out, the driver of the truck entered a curve too quickly, which ultimately caused it to leave the roadway, tip over, and catch on fire — ultimately leading to the explosion. As is the standard procedure for accidents like this, the company that owns the truck – Industrial Transit – was also investigated and found to be in violation of several federal safety regulations. The FMCSA, in turn, issued an order for the company to immediately cease all operations as it is officially declared “an imminent hazard to public safety.”
Industrial Transit has just five trucks, all of which are normally used for hauling automotive parts for various companies. Most automotive parts aren’t considered hazardous material, but airbags are one of the few automotive parts that are. Be that as it may, Industrial Transit has failed to comply with driver qualification requirements, even allowing two drivers over the last few months to operate its trucks without a valid commercial driver’s license. It never implemented random alcohol and drug testing, has failed to keep up on regular inspection, maintenance, and repair of its fleet, and wasn’t monitoring how many hours its drivers spent behind the wheel. Drivers had no formal training for handling hazardous materials, and the company was apparently no good at filling out the necessary paperwork for hazardous materials either.
Sounds crazy right? Well, the FMCSA also found that some of the trucks had brakes that were out of adjustment, loose steering components, oil leaks, and one even had an unsecured fire extinguisher. The company could, ultimately, return to business as usual, but it must first bring itself up to speed, correct the violations, and undergo another full inspection by the FMCSA. If the company refuses to comply with the order to cease operations, it could be fined as much as $25,705. It could also be hit with a fine of at least $10,282 for operating “without necessary authority,” and could suffer a civil penalty of up to $14,502 for operating without a USDOT number. Anyone who violates the order could also be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to up to one year in prison.
Continue reading for the rest of the story
2016 Nissan Navara EnGuard Concept
Hurricanes, flash floods, earthquakes, land slides, tornados – all natural disasters that interrupt normal life and put people in hard situations. First responders and search and rescue team members have the job of finding and saving people caught in Mother Nature’s way. Nissan, at the 2016 Hannover Motor Show, debuted a concept truck build specifically for the rigors of search and rescue. It’s based on the Navara pickup, and it’s called the EnGuard Concept.
Nissan started with a conventional Navara Double Cab Tekna and added features to nearly every square inch. It’s all done in an effort to make search and rescue operations safer and more efficient, saving time and lives.
Included is a DJI Phantom 4 drone that remotely sends a video feed to foldout monitors in the cargo bed. Nissan also developed a portable battery supply designed to power rescue equipment with zero emissions and no flammable fuels. The battery pack is charged by the truck’s turbodiesel engine and can be easily carried into harms way.
Aside from the headline-leading tech, Nissan also gave the EnGuard Concept some old-fashioned upgrades. A two-inch suspension lift and meaty tires allow the truck to traverse rough terrain. A winch provides an insurance policy should the truck get stuck. It can also be used to lower rescuers into ravine or to pull debris off roadways.
There are plenty of other goodies packed onto this truck, so keep reading for more.
Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Navara EnGuard Concept.
2016 Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck
Mercedes-Benz has announced an all-electric commercial truck designed to replace diesel-powered trucks on local, short-run delivery routes. It’s called the Urban eTruck and it runs off lithium-ion batteries that power two electric motors at the rear wheels for a clean, quiet, ride with zero local emissions.
The truck is said to have little trade-offs in relation to its diesel and gasoline-powered counterparts. It has a range of up to 124 miles and a maximum payload capacity rivaling diesel trucks. Its cabin comes chocked full of Mercedes’ latest technology from FleetBoard, including real-time traffic information with alternative route planning, driver and dispatcher communications, and emergency route guidance back to home base should the truck run low on its charge.
The Urban eTruck comes with three choices in battery size. The standard setup includes three battery modules with a total capacity of 212 kWh with a range up to 200 kilometers, or 124 miles. Battery modules can be factory ordered for truck with longer delivery routes and those that frequently travel at higher steeds, or trucks with larger payloads but travel fewer miles.
Mercedes says production of this type of truck is conceivable to begin at the start of the next decade. Whether the automaker will achieve that goal is unknown, but knowing how Mercedes generally succeeds at its goals, it’s likely vehicles like the Urban eTruck will become a reality.
This product concept comes on the heels of Tesla’s “Master Plan, Part Deux,” which details the electric automaker’s plans for building all-electric commercial trucks and public transportation. Undoubtedly Elon Musk has to feel the pressure.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck.
Diesel Truck Emissions Subject to New California Law
California has just signed into law a bill that requires black carbon emissions from diesel trucks and methane emissions from cows and other livestock be cut dramatically by 2030. California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation, saying, “We’re protecting people’s lungs [and] their health by cutting out a poisonous chemical that comes out of diesel trucks. It goes from some machine, into the air and into your lungs.”
The law requires diesel trucks produced by 2030 to have a 50-percent reduction in black carbon emissions. Black carbon, which is different from carbon dioxide, is the black soot seen exiting diesel exhaust pipes. It is said to remain in the atmosphere a shorter time than other pollutants, but still contributes to climate change due to its heat-trapping effects.
Cleaning up diesel emissions will be done at the automaker level, which will result is a wider spread of after-treatment systems on medium- and heavy-duty trucks. As seen with light-duty diesel trucks, the advancements will likely increase truck prices and operating expenses for owners.
Besides diesel trucks, the California law also calls for a 40-percent reduction in methane emissions from livestock. Yes, cow farts from the state’s prevalent dairy industry is under scrutiny again. Ironically, equipment has already been developed to transform airborne methane into useable fuel. It’s called a methane digester and it uses an airtight container to capture gasses coming from collected manure.
While the benefits are said to include reduced methane in the atmosphere and bio fuel for farmers to use, the systems can cost big money. This forces farmers to make shell out sizeable investments into equipment not essential for daily operations in the dairy industry. Price hikes in milk and other dairy products will be the likely results.
Continue reading for more information.
Ford’s Medium Duty Truck Sales Up 59 Percent, Best Year Since 1997
Ford is experiencing a major success with its new 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium duty trucks. Since their launch in August of 2015, the trucks have sold 10,160 units, representing a 59-percent increase in year-over-year sales. It was 1997 when Ford last had this much gain in its medium duty segment.
“We’re seeing growing interest in the new tractor from beverage and hauling fleets,” says Kevin Koester, Ford medium-duty truck and Super Duty fleet marketing manager. “Giving our customers the choice of two exclusive powertrains, available across all body styles and designed specifically for the unique needs of the vocational truck market, has really helped drive sales of our new trucks.”
Ford credits its sales growth to big improvements with the F-650 and F-750. They include a quieter, more insulated cabin, multiple frame designs and wheelbase choices to suit a wide variety of customers, and powertrain improvements that include both gasoline and diesel engines backed by Ford’s heavy-duty automatic transmission.
The F-650 and F-750 remain the only medium-duty trucks to offer a gasoline engine, the 6.8-liter V-10. Added to that is the option for a CNG fuel system, giving customers the choice between running standard gasoline or Compressed Natural Gas. The diesel engine is familiar to Super Duty customers – the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel. Ford offers the engine in three stages of tune. The base tune makes 270 horsepower and 675 pound-feet of torque. The mid-rage tune boosts power to 300 horses and 700 pound-feet of torque. Those doing extremely heavy lifting will want the 300-horse, 725 pound-feet version. Fleet bosses also love Ford’s five-year/250,000-mile warranty on the Power Stroke.
“Towing and rental customers have embraced the gas engine, and others are looking at this powertrain for more severe service applications,” Koester says. “Our diesel customers are praising the quietness of the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. Not only is it up to 45 percent quieter in the cabin at idle than the outgoing model, it’s so quiet that customers have told us that there have been times when they’ve approached the truck in front of the grille and didn’t even realize it was running.”
While NVH levels aren’t generally selling points for commercial trucks, the quite operation certainly isn’t a detractor.
Ford also builds the F-650 and F-750 at its Ohio Assembly Plant near Cleveland, having moved production from Mexico in late 2015. The automaker invested some $168 million in the Ohio plant before beginning work on the F-650 and F-750.
Continue reading for more information.
Nikola Motor Company Debuts “Zero” All-Electric UTV
The Nikola Motor Company has made big claims over the last several months, the biggest of which is developing a zero-emissions semi truck with a 2,000 horsepower, a 1,200-mile range, and a pre-order list 7,000 customers long. While the world has yet to see the truck, called the Nikola One, in anything other than a computer rendering, the fledgling automaker official debuted its first product in the metal.
It’s the Nikola Zero, an all-electric UTV, and it was revealed at the Sand Sports Super Show in Torrance, California on September 17th. The Zero has a 72-kWh batter that makes up to 520 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque and offers a range between 100 and 200 miles, depending on driving styles. Powerful motors reside at each wheel and are said to power the Zero to 60 mph in three seconds. There’s even an optional rear-wheel steering system that gives the Zero better handling in fast corners. The independent wheel motors also allow for torque vectoring.
All the components are said to be waterproof, as well, allowing the UTV to theoretically operate under water. Nikola doesn’t condone using the Zero as a submarine, however. While these stats are impressive, they have yet to be independently tested. Nevertheless, Nikola is currently taking $750 refundable deposits for the Zero, which costs a total of $37,500.
Nikola’s achievement of getting the Zero this point raises questions on whether the company will be able to do the same with its Nikola One semi truck. It was back in May of 2016 that Nikola announced the One, but only three months later, abandoned the idea of full battery power in favor of a hydrogen fuel cell. All this before its December 1, 2016 debut is scheduled. Will Nikola be able to deliver a working prototype before the year is out? Keep reading for more information.
Continue reading for more.
2016 Global Vehicle Trust OX
He’s known for many things, but Gordon Murray can now add an inexpensive, easy-to-assemble, all-terrain truck to his F1 racing and McLaren resume. That’s right, Murray, along with famed philanthropist Sir Torquil Norman, are in the process of kick starting Global Vehicle Trust, an automobile company focused on making rugged and inexpensive trucks designed to haul heavy loads over primitive roads through third world countries.
GVT’s prototype is called the OX, and it’s designed for both regular transportation and for use in emergencies. A team of three people can assemble it in roughly 12 hours with average mechanical skill using basic hand tools. It comes packed flat in a box and uses common parts on each side of the vehicle. Even the three-piece windshield uses interchangeable glass panels.
True to Gordon’s McLaren F1 design, the OX uses a centered driver’s position, leaving the two outboard seats for passengers. Three occupants can fit up front, while 10 more can ride out back. And despite only weighting 3,500 pounds and powered by a 100-horsepower four-cylinder, the OX can carry 4,200 pounds – far more than most conventional car-based pickups in the affordable price bracket. And interestingly enough, the OX is only FWD. This makes it far easier to manufacture and assemble, while knobby tires held down by the engine and cab’s weight make for good traction.
All this comes from Sir Torquil Norman’s dream of helping people in developing countries with cost-effective transportation. He founded GVT five years ago and has been working on the OX project ever since. The fledgling automaker is currently seeking donors willing to support the ambitious project.
Continue reading about the OX below.
Ebay Find of the Day: 1962 Chevy C10 Patina Pro Touring Restomod
Restomodding has become extremely popular these last few years, with guys restoring old cars while giving them new life with modern parts. It’s like a Goldilocks special – the best of both worlds wrapped into a single project. A perfect example is this 1962 Chevrolet C10 pickup that’s been completely reworked from bumper to bumper. Now it’s our eBay find of the day.
The truck has been fully restored, complete with a painted ladder frame, custom cargo bed with tubbed wheel wells, and an awesome flat flame red paint job. Black accents help define the C10’s bodylines while breaking up the monotony of the slab sides. Inside, the red color scheme continues with red carpet, a red dash, and red seats. Black accents on the steering wheel, gear shifter, gauge cluster, and seats help pull off the two-tone theme.
Power comes from a 355 cubic-inch small-block Chevy with a Rowdy Thumpr cam from Comp Cams. It’s kept cool with an aluminum radiator and an electronic fan. The engine is decked out with chrome valve covers and a matching air cleaner sitting atop the four-barrel carburetor. The V-8 is mated to an automatic an automatic transmission with a floor shifter. Power, of course, is sent rearward to the fat rear tires. Though the gearing isn’t specifically stated, the listing says the rear end is geared for the highway – likely making this a great cruiser.
The truck rides on a bagged suspension, making the ride height adjustable for the show and for the road. A set of 20-inch, five-spoke wheels ride up front with 22-inchers out back. They come wrapped in high performance rubber. Performance disc brakes up front and new drum brakes out back pull the truck to a stop.
There’s more to this truck, so keep reading for the full details.
Continue reading for more information.