HeavyDuty Trucking – Issue

September 2013

Cover Story
Alternative Fuels: Many Options
By Deborah Lockridge & Jim Park

Natural gas. Biodiesel. Dimethyl ether. Hybrid. Electric. Algae-based diesel. Hydrogen fuel cells. There’s a virtual smorgasbord of available and potential fuel sources to power medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The critical question becomes which one, or which combination of fuel sources, represent the best path for fleets, manufacturers and the industry.

Features

Powers Distributing Invested in Diesel-Electric Hydrids This DME engine is based on a Volvo D13 diesel. This prototype has common-rail fuel injection, which the production engine might or might not use.

By Deborah Lockridge

Powers Distributing, Lake Orion, Mich., was the first company to buy a significant number of diesel-electric hybrid trucks using the Eaton Hybrid Power System. That may seem like a big jump for a relatively small fleet, but the 74-year-old company has a deep commitment to social responsibility and that includes sustainability.

Life in the Refrigerated Business Ralph Moyle’s first truck, on the right, was a 1940 Ford. Next to it on the left is the third truck that Ralph purchased, a 1950 Ford.

By Kate Harlow

From a very young age, Ralph Moyle was drawn to trucking. So when given the chance, he didn’t let the lack of a driver’s license – or the fact that he was only 14 years old – stand in his way.

The High-Tech Shop Devices that allow drivers to conduct and record driver vehicle inspection reports electronically, such as those from Zonar, transmit maintenance issues directly to the fleet and maintenance manager for immediate action.

By Jim Beach

In some fleets, shop operations are completely integrated with the computer systems for dispatch, accounting, mobile communications and outside service providers. In other fleets, technology in the shop may be limited to automated systems for tracking work, labor, parts and inventory.

Staples Runs Electric Trucks in its Fleet Short routes with many stops, including some in downtown Los Angeles, are ideal for Staples’ Smith Newton electric trucks.

By Tom Berg

Getting office-supply products to Staples’ 2,000-plus stores around the world and directly to business customers takes more than pushing an Easy button, even if Mike Payette, director for fleet equipment, has four of the advertising-theme props, “in four languages,” on his desk.

Hydraulic Hybrid Drive Systems Can Save You Fuel Hydraulic hybrid drive systems can cut fuel consumption and dramatically improve brake life for refuse fleets.

By Jim Park

Hybrid drive systems deliver value by reducing engine load, replacing or supplementing engine output through alternate means of powering the vehicle, or recovering energy normally turned into heat during braking and putting it back to work. Heavy-duty hydraulic hybrids accomplish all three.

Commentary: Learning to Love Pond Scum

By Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor

Not long ago I was at my desk looking to write about some aspect of where we’re heading. Then I flicked on the little TV beside me to watch the news, and what did I see but a piece about algae as a fuel source. Clearly a sign.

Retreading Wide-base Tires Most fleets could get a good trailer tire out of a third-generation retreaded tire.

By Jim Park

Wide-base tires aren’t cheap. Not that duals are cheaper, but in a single wide-base tire you have an investment approaching the cost of a pair of standard tires. Minimizing the life-cycle cost of those big wide tires almost demands that they be retreaded.

Biodiesel: A Drop-in Solution for Going Green Florida Power & Light was the first utility to deploy a plug-in hybrid biodiesel electric bucket truck like the one on the left in 2008.

By Kate Harlow

While natural gas has pushed its way to center stage in the alternative fuels discussion, the investment in equipment and infrastructure make it less than appealing to many fleets. However, anyone who is currently running on diesel fuel can easily switch to a greener alternative without that type of up-front investment. They simply have to fill up their fuel tank with biodiesel.

DME: An Alternative Fuel that is Coming Soon This DME engine is based on a Volvo D13 diesel. This prototype has common-rail fuel injection, which the production engine might or might not use.

By Tom Berg

Volvo Trucks North America believes dimethyl ether, or DME, is the real fuel of the future, and the company intends to get it to market as a motor fuel by 2015 in Volvo VN models as well as Mack Pinnacle trucks from its sister company.

Schwan's Home Service Runs 3,300 Propane-Powered Units Nationwide Schwan’s Ford E-450s are among the many that run on propane, which the company has used since the 1970s.

By Tom Berg

After more than 40 years of using propane as a motor fuel, the people at The Schwan Food Co. still believe they’ve got the right stuff. Schwan’s experience with propane goes back to the 1970s, when Arab oil embargoes threatened supplies of gasoline and diesel and drove up their prices.

Diesel/Natural Gas Conversions Offers Owners a Choice

By Deborah Lockridge

A dual-fuel conversion system can offer some of the fuel- and emissions-saving benefits of a natural gas engine without going out and buying a brand-new truck. Read more in this story from the September issue of HDT.

Making Driver Scorecards Work Easy-to-understand graphs and charts like this one from Vigillo helps both drivers and their managers see at a glance where they stand.

By Deborah Lockridge

A trucking company decided to give out an award for the best driver, so they asked employees to nominate and vote on the honor. The winner, however, turned out to have one of the worst safety records in the fleet.

LNG: Kwik-Trip Inc. runs both LNG and CNG Kwik-Trip’s LNG and CNG trucks use its public filling stations, including this one in La Crosse, Wis. Managers are trying out both gas types so they can give realistic advice to customers.

By Tom Berg

Says the butcher: “We eat what we sell.” Says Kwik-Trip: “We burn what we sell.” That’s natural gas, sold in liquefied and compressed form at 15 of the 430 retail filling stations the company operates in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

CNG: Monarch Beverage Spends $16.5 Million to Convert Fleet Monarch’s highway tractors like this Kenworth T660 run enough miles to pay off the investment in CNG equipment within three years, according to the fleet’s calculations.

By Tom Berg

Monarch Beverage Co. of Indianapolis is spending $16.5 million to convert its truck fleet to natural gas.

Test Drives

Test Drive: KW T800, ISX12 G Paired

By Tom Berg

My drive of the Cummins Wesport ISX12 G was at a mid-July “natural gas summit” hosted by Kenworth at its plant in Chillicothe, Ohio. A half-dozen gas-powered KWs built for different applications were offered to dealers, customers and press reporters for inspection and evaluation. A few fellows with CDLs, like me, took them for drives, and I had – how shall I say? – a learning experience while in a T800 short-haul daycab tractor pulling a 53-foot van trailer.

Test Drive: Natural Gas Freightliner Cascadia 113

By Jim Park

Freightliner’s Cascadia 113 and the ISX12 G from Cummins Westport aren’t exactly strangers. About 100 of the trucks have been in customer hands for some months now. Equipment Editor Jim Park takes one for a spin.

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