The NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis is the place where those who work in construction and other vocational trades gather. As the name implies, it is a showcase for all things “work truck.” But the show also brings together a large following of last-mile and delivery services executives, and truck manufacturers and suppliers have responded with a growing number of products aimed at these markets.
At this year’s show, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), Spartan Motors’ Utilimaster brand and Supreme Corp. showed off vehicles designed for that final mile, which has become synonymous with e-commerce delivery.
Also debuting at this year’s show was an innovative liftgate from Waltco, a new service from Comvoy to help find trucks, service body enhancements from Knapheide and an update on a planned testing facility from Allison Transmission.
Here is a brief look at these products and plans.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
FCCC showed an all-electric truck chassis. The MT50e features a battery system from Proterra with 226 kWh of energy capacity.
Built on FCCC’s MT platform, the all-electric MT50e will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 16,000 to 23,000 pounds, with no reduction in cargo volume capacity, the company said. The vehicle is designed to enable more than 125 miles of driving range and can be fully charged using DC fast charging in about three hours.
“The new MT50e blends the efficiency and performance of an electric vehicle with the undisputed strength and ruggedness that’s made FCCC the most reliable chassis on the market,” said Jeff Sather, president and CEO of FCCC. “The MT50e comes with industry-leading, 24/7 support and builds on our heritage of technological innovation to propel both us and our customers into an era of zero emissions for last-mile delivery vehicles.”
The platform appeared at last year’s Work Truck Show as a prototype.
FCCC said additional all-electric chassis will be unveiled soon.
Spartan Motors Inc. brand Utilimaster unveiled a new Class 3 walk-in cargo van. The Velocity M3 is built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cab and chassis. It advances Utilimaster’s Reach design, adding a lighter body that offers higher payload, more cargo space and improved fuel efficiency.
The Velocity includes an automatic access system that opens, closes, and locks interior and exterior doors — without keys or manual effort.
“As innovators in fleet vehicle design and engineering, Utilimaster translates customer feedback alongside emerging transportation, infrastructure and technological trends into innovative designs,” said Daryl Adams, president and CEO, Spartan Motors. “Our commitment to bringing these industry-leading products to market faster and more efficiently means we’re best positioned to meet the needs of our customers in the first-to-last-mile delivery segment, and beyond.”
The Velocity features collision mitigation, blind spot detection, and a 360-degree camera system with a high-definition 9-inch display and rear radar sensors. Additional security measures include three-door keyless access systems with wristband RFID activation, an automatic side door and bulkhead door closure feature, and an interior camera system.
Allison Transmission is building a new test facility in Indianapolis. The Vehicle Environmental Test (VET) facility will open this summer and be available for other companies to lease.
“Industries around the globe depend on Allison Automatics to power highly specialized vehicles that must perform under all kinds of extreme conditions,” said David Graziosi, president and CEO of Allison Transmission. “The Vehicle Environmental Test facility will provide Allison engineers with enhanced capabilities to conduct testing replicating vehicle environments and duty cycles.”
The facility will enable accelerated truck testing in temperature ranges from minus-54 degrees to 125 F. The 60,000-square-foot facility includes hot-soak and cold-soak abilities, two chassis dynamometers, and altitude testing up to 18,000 feet.
It will also be able to test electric and hybrid vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles.
Allison also said work continues on its Innovation Center next to its headquarters in Indianapolis. The facility, expected to open in 2021, will feature expanded virtual and physical system simulation, as well as development and validation capabilities to support customers, partners and supplier relationships. This includes regulatory compliance simulation, as well as broader collaboration on future technology and product initiatives.
Supreme Corp. launched a new Kold King tuck body and Gruau refrigerated truck insert for cargo vans.
“The Supreme brand our customers have trusted for more than 40 years is better than ever as part of the Wabash National family. By combining Supreme’s 40-plus years of extensive knowledge in the final mile industry with Wabash National’s R&D capabilities, advanced composite technologies and manufacturing excellence, we’re able to deliver engineered solutions built to perform and last longer,” said Tim Marling, vice president of product and business development for Wabash National’s Final Mile Products business.
The Kold King refrigerated truck body is 200 pounds lighter and up to 25% more thermally efficient than previous models. It features a smooth, seamless interior liner that offers a brighter, more durable food-grade surface, the company said. The overall design significantly reduces potential leak points and water intrusion, and its damage-resistant, one-piece header reduces downtime, Supreme said.
The Gruau insert, done in partnership with Gruau, is a Food Safety Modernization Act-compliant, complete refrigeration upfit solution that includes lightweight, low-profile modules designed for climate control while retaining maximum cargo space and preserving the van’s exterior. The system improves thermal efficiency up to 20% compared to other refrigerated vans, Supreme said, and increases the life of the reefer unit through more efficient temperature maintenance. The insert is a modular system.
Knapheide showed a combo body and a new saw body. Knapheide van equipment includes a lineup of partitions, shelving, options and accessories to fit the needs of most van users, it said.
The combo body is a combination of Knapheide’s service body and contractor platform body. The body provides optimized storage, transportation solutions and a full cargo area with drop-down racks.
The saw body was designed with the concrete cutting contractor in mind, with its primary purpose being to haul concrete cutting saws. It includes specific storage areas for items such as saw blades, hoses, cords, slurry tanks, and coring and drilling equipment.
Comvoy has announced a partnership with HomeAdvisor to help that company’s network of service professionals find vehicles for their jobs.
Comvoy is a searchable marketplace for work-ready trucks and vans. It uses detailed configuration data, intuitive search, and integrated insights to guide businesses to the right vehicle for their jobs — and connects them to local dealers.
“We strive to provide our network of pros with the tips, tools and information to grow and succeed in their business,” said Craig Smith, president and COO of HomeAdvisor. “We’re excited to introduce Comvoy as a free resource to our pros — ensuring they can quickly find the right vehicle for their jobs.”
Waltco introduced a new type of lift gate. The FM1000 is a 1,000-pound lift gate that is integrated directly into the rear of the truck body. It is now available for aftermarket installation, the company said.
The three-piece gate features the rear frame, top door and platform. It replaces current truck body doors. The top part of the door lifts up and the platform drops down and folds out, revealing the platform. It includes safety rails.