Article

Innovators Talk Engine Tech

July 2010, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Deborah Lockridge, Editor, Editor in Chief - Also by this author

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We spoke with several of Heavy Duty Trucking's 2010 Truck Fleet Innovators to get their thoughts, experiences and purchase plans regarding the new EPA 2010 engines.


Tom Voelkel, president/COO at Louisiana-based Dupre Logistics, says so far his company is happy with its 12 EPA-2010 engines, They have approximately 35,000 miles on them, with no problems reported, and are getting 7 to 7.5 mpg.

Making a Decision

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"Since we haul a lot of heavy products that weigh out before they cube out, we are concerned with engine weight," Voelkel says. "We like to stay consistent with a manufacturer for the same reasons we try to stick with a uniform fleet with the same components."

Other factors Dupre looks at, he says, include engine manufacturer reliability, the dealer and engine distributor network, proven engine performance, fuel economy and "the ability of the engine manufacturer to move forward with technology and the industry."

Sticking a Toe in

When we first spoke to Jim Burg earlier this year, this innovative equipment guy hadn't given that much thought to the 2010 engine technology debate, since he wasn't planning on buying new trucks anytime soon.

Today, Burg, who's president/CEO of James Burg Trucking in Warren, Mich., says, "We have been fortunate enough to have picked up some new business requiring us to expand our fleet. I still have concerns about the 2010 engines since I am not well educated in the performance of the available product. I intend on utilizing short term rentals/leases with a variety of engine power until I can form an opinion on which engine brand(s) to purchase."

The leasing answer

Jim MIckey, president/co-owner of Coastal Pacific Xpress in British Columbia, says CPX owns very few of their own tractors. Other than a few trucks that have come along with acquisitions, the fleet is a mix of owner-operators and a company fleet that is completely supplied on a wet lease basis from Ryder.

"I simply never think about the issue (but I also would never take a new truck in year one of any substantial change…call me chicken)."

For Mickey, it's more important to focus on drivers rather than equipment. In fact, he says, "In my world we need a good truck and a good trailer, but we do not give the gear even one 20th the attention we give to the driver that has to make the job get done each day. If you give me 100 good drivers and a yard full of average old equipment, I will compete head-on successfully all day long against the best modern spec'd fleet in the country that has a systemic bad attitude toward the role of the driver."


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