All-new Ford F-150 Raptor Prototype Trail Testing

Ford Performance engineers are busying trail testing prototypes of the all-new F-150 Raptor, the toughest, smartest and most capable Raptor ever. The all-new Raptor is able to tackle even tougher hills, ruts and bumps along trails than the previous model. Here an early engineering prototype that combines parts from the 2017 Raptor with the 2015 F-150 climbs tight two track trails in Northern Michigan, where the team is testing the new truck’s components over challenging terrain. The 2017 F-150 Raptor has better ground clearance than the first-generation Raptor and comes standard with new 3.0-inch FOX Racing Shox with custom internal bypass technology. The shock absorption technology works to damp and stiffen suspension travel over rough terrain. An all-new four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand transfer case further improves Raptor’s trail performance. The new transfer case, which manages power distribution between the front and rear wheels, combines the best attributes of clutch-driven, on-demand all-wheel drive with durable, mechanical-locking four-wheel drive. You’ll be able to test the all-new Raptor for yourself in Fall 2016.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.

Autogas: Propane as an Engine Fuel

Propane autogas, the term for propane when fueling an on-road vehicle, has the attention of fleet and transportation managers for a few reasons: economics, energy security, and the environment. It is a safe, sustainable, and domestically produced fuel with a robust infrastructure and economic efficiencies.

As an approved clean alternative fuel under the Clean Air Act of 1990, propane autogas qualifies as an alternative fuel eligible for various federal tax incentives and programs. Currently propane autogas powers more than 270,000 propane autogas vehicles in the U.S., including school buses, shuttle buses, trucks, vans, and taxis. More than 15 million vehicles run on propane autogas worldwide. Countries such as South Korea, Poland, Indian, and Japan have a significant percent of their transportation vehicles running on propane autogas. About 40 percent of vehicles in Turkey are fueled by propane autogas.

There are two different ways vehicles may be powered by propane autogas — dedicated and dual-fuel:

    Dedicated vehicles, fueled only by propane autogas, can be converted from gasoline powered vehicles or can be delivered direct from select original equipment manufacturers.
    Dual-fuel vehicles, installed by certified technicians, can run on either propane autogas or gasoline.

Propane autogas vehicles operate in a similar way as gasoline fueled vehicles. Only a few modifications to the vehicle must be made. The system can be a vapor or a liquid fuel injection. In a vapor injection, propane is vaporized and mixed with combustion air in the intake plenum (enclosed chamber) of the engine. Traditionally, vapor systems are less expensive but result in a loss of power. In a liquid system, liquid propane autogas is injected directly into each cylinder’s intake port. The liquid fuel vaporizes in the cylinder, cooling the air and resulting in no loss of horsepower, torque, or engine performance.

Propane autogas vehicles have the longest driving range of any alternative fuel — more than 250 percent farther than compressed natural gas, about 60 percent farther than methanol, and 25 percent farther than ethanol. This is due to a number of reasons, including the fact that propane autogas requires a smaller storage vessel than other pressurized alternative fuels to go the same distance.

Propane autogas vehicles meet the same standards for safety as conventionally fueled vehicles. Propane autogas vehicle tanks are constructed from carbon steel under code developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME4196), are 20 times more puncture resistant, and can withstand far more pressure than typical gasoline, methanol, or ethanol tanks. ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel tanks are designed to hold a capacity that maximizes the number of miles driven between fill ups.

Propane autogas offers more energy per unit mass and has a higher octane rating than gasoline. Propane as an auto fuel does have a slightly lower fuel economy, due to the lower British thermal unit (Btu) content of propane as compared to gasoline — it takes more fuel to create the same amount of power.

Many propane autogas vehicle fleets have reported two to three years longer service life and extended intervals between required maintenance when compared to their gasoline vehicles. The cleaner burning nature of propane and the lack of carbon build up in the engines leads to this unique benefit of propane autogas. ROUSH CleanTech customer testimonials prove the on-road performance of propane autogas matches research documented in trials, including the same horsepower, torque, and towing capacity as gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Ease of refueling a propane autogas vehicle has helped grow the use of this alternative fuel. With thousands of refueling stations across the U.S., a robust national infrastructure is in place to support its implementation as a primary fuel. In addition, some fleets choose to work with their local propane marketer to establish a propane autogas refueling infrastructure on-site at little or no cost.
To learn more about propane autogas, visit:

Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities Coalitions

Propane Education & Research Council

Autogas for America


Road Sighting: 11' Harbor Raised Compartment Service Body

A few weeks back coming into Yuba City CA, I spied a Ford F450/550 crew cab with an 11' Harbor TradeMaster Service Body with dual front raised compartments, master locking system, liftgate and cab shield. Sometimes they call this a Welder's Body, as those raised compartments are good for the gas bottles storage, but those raised compartments are quite nice with just shelves or drawers. So much more storage area. This one appears to be owned by Spray-Chem Chemical Company, out of Durham CA, between Yuba City and Chico CA. www.spraychem.com. Nice unit!

Ford F-150 Raptor on Patrol in Park City

Thanks to a local businessman, Park City, Utah, has a very special Raptor that the police department uses to draw attention to special activities and to help get the public involved in positive programs.


GM Lansing Delta Township Plant Builds 2 Millionth Vehicle

White Frost Tricoat Buick Enclave 
is milestone large crossover


LANSING, Mich. – A 2016 Buick Enclave, painted in White Frost Tricoat, rolled off the production line at General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant today, the 2 millionth vehicle produced at the automaker’s newest assembly plant in North America.
"This milestone directly reflects the dedication and hard work that our employees put into these crossovers every day,” said Mike Trevorrow, Lansing regional plant manager. “This team has established a strong foundation since opening to enable us to produce our 2 millionth vehicle in nine years, which is quite an accomplishment.”
Opened in 2006, Lansing Delta Township Assembly blends best practices and the newest technology in one facility. It was the first automotive manufacturing facility in the world to be a Gold Certified Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Since starting production, Lansing Delta Township has manufactured the Saturn Outlook, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Acadia Denali and Buick Enclave. A white Outlook was the first vehicle produced on May 24, 2006.
The plant currently employs approximately 3,200 employees on three shifts.
GM has announced more than $580 million in investments for Lansing Delta Township facility over the last two years, including $63 million in 2014 to expand the plant by nearly 263,000 square feet and $520 million earlier this year for tooling and equipment associated with future new vehicle programs. 
“Producing the 2 millionth vehicle would not be possible without the great people we have here,” said UAW Local 602 President Bill Reed.
While most vehicles follow somewhat of a bell curve for sales during their lifecycle, the Enclave has continued an upward trajectory after more than seven years. Minor dips in 2009 and 2012 reflected overall trends in the recovering auto industry, but record-setting 2014 sales represented a 39-percent increase over the Enclave’s first full year of production. As of June 2015, more than 500,000 Enclave models had been sold worldwide.   
“The Enclave led Buick’s product renaissance, redefining what consumers should expect from a full-size luxury crossover,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “It is fitting that an Enclave is the 2 millionth vehicle to roll off the line in Lansing, demonstrating continued consumer demand.”
This milestone for Lansing Delta Township is part of GM’s celebration of 500 million vehicles built globally, more than any other automaker.
About General Motors Co,
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets.  GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

About Buick
Buick is an international modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models in North America and China. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick, on Instragram, or at www.facebook.com/buick

Tommy Gate's G2 Series Liftgate

Tommy Gate's G2 Series is the latest in parallel-arm technology. Dual hydraulic cylinders apply direct power to both sides of the platform for increased consistency in motion and stability. With reduced maintenance requirements, wide variety of platform options, and vast hitch compatibility, G2 Series hydraulic lifts are a strong, versatile lift that are convenient, efficient, and make trucks work better.

Liftgate Features

    Dual hydraulic cylinders
    Maintenance-free components
    Recessed control
    Larger platforms
    Fully-enclosed hydraulic system


F-150 transmission has Mustang feel with pickup capability

Have to make a difficult choice between a Ford Mustang and an F-150? Well Ford’s new F-150 has got you covered. Kind of!

Jason Cannon

The all-new 2015 Mustang and F-150 were developed on a similar time line and share certain automatic transmission technology. Engineers often drove both vehicles on the same trips used for testing.

“Our team realized how well the new F-150 handled and responded to acceleration due to its reduced weight,” says Karl Jungbluth, Ford transmission calibration engineer. “So we decided we could adapt the sport mode capabilities of the six-speed automatic transmission from Mustang to F-150 to enhance the overall driving experience for truck customers.”

Sport mode on F-150 is activated by pushing the tow/haul mode button twice. An amber S appears in the lower-right portion of the tachometer indicating that sport mode is active.

The feature changes the frequency of gearshifts, allowing the truck to stay in the powerband “sweet spot” and holds lower gears longer to, as Ford puts it, “make driving more fun.”

There is some practicality of Sport mode beyond fun. It provides for less shifting on twisty roads and rolling hills. Instead of shifting gears up and down for peak efficiency, the transmission holds a specific gear longer to make driving more responsive.

Sport mode also reduces the frequency of having to step on the gas pedal to reach peak torque, resulting in quicker acceleration with less pedal travel.

An advanced feature of F-150’s six-speed automatic transmission is its ability to match engine rpm as it downshifts in slowing for a corner. Electronics calibration for this feature comes straight out of Mustang.

Sport mode makes Mustang come alive, and we feel it does the same thing in F-150,” Jungbluth says.

F150 SportMode is similar to F-150’s tow/haul mode, which also changes shift points under acceleration, keeping the truck at a higher rpm and further up in the power range while driving over rolling terrain for an improved towing experience. The technology limits the transmission from shifting up when the vehicle crests a hill, and provides downhill brake support that allows engine-compression braking to slow the vehicle and maintain a steady speed.

Sport mode is standard with every F-150 engine and can be activated in two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive automatic and four-wheel-drive high settings.

By Jason Cannon 

Source:  http://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/f-150-transmission-has-mustang-feel-with-pickup-capability/


Pickup Packs by Highway Products

The Pickup Pack™ is a unique alternative for companies needing organized storage and lockup security without the cost of a service body and that can be easily installed on your pickup in a few hours.

Pickup Packs™ include a headache rack, two lockable low side boxes, a flat or dome center hatch, and a removable ladder rack. Other options include gullwing saddle box and an HPI Truckslide™.

Learn more at http://www.highwayproducts.com/pickup...

Transfer Flow In-Bed Fuel Tanks

Double or Triple your pickup's fuel capacity 
with an in-bed auxiliary fuel tank system

Increase your Ford, GM or Dodge Ram diesel pickup’s fuel capacity and driving range with an in-bed auxiliary fuel tank systems from Transfer Flow! Transfer Flow in-bed auxiliary tanks are available in 37, 50, 75, 98 and 100 gallons, and are available in sturdy aluminized steel and bright diamond plate. Transfer Flow fuel tanks are fully baffled to minimize fuel sloshing and come complete with all necessary installation components and detailed instructions (some pickups require a fillneck kit or tee). Using the patented technology of our TRAX 3™ or our MaxFlo-TFI™ operating system, the transfer process is entirely automatic and 100% worry free! Exclusive design features allow some tanks to be used in conjunction with other popular cargo accessories such as retractable truck bed covers and tonneau covers. Let us "fuel your adventures" with a safe, legal and durable in-bed auxiliary fuel tank system from Transfer Flow!

See all the models at: http://www.transferflow.com/fuel-tanks/in-bed


Chevrolet Announces 2016 Colorado Midnight Edition

Like the bigger Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the 2016 Colorado will get a special Midnight Edition package to set it apart in an increasingly competitive segment. The black-out-themed Colorado will be offered exclusively in black with smoked black 18-inch wheels and a black bow tie on the grille. Naturally, the small pickup will have a black spray-in bedliner and a soft black tonneau over the bed.

All Midnight Editions will be offered in either of the Colorado's two cab configurations (extended or crew), in two-wheel- or four-wheel drive, and will be available with any of the three engine choices: the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder, the 3.6-liter V-6 or the new turbo-diesel 2.8-liter 16-valve four-cylinder. Available on the LT trim level, pricing for the package will be announced by fall.

Source: See more Manufacturer images



Chevy Trucks: For Those Hard-to-Reach Places

All of Alaska energy company’s fleet wears a bow tie
DETROIT – Removing the wheels from a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and replacing them with smaller ones to fit inside a Shorts 330 Sherpa airplane is one way ASRC Energy Services in Alaska is committed to getting fleet vehicles to employees in areas unreachable by conventional means.

As Alaska’s oilfield service partner, ASRC Energy Services deploys employees across the state to monitor everything from oilfield exploration and construction to ensure regulatory standards are properly followed.

“Our fleet vehicles double as mobile offices for the majority of our employees, so we need to give them dependable vehicles in the remote areas where they work,” said Chris Maynard, general manager of fleet operations, ASRC Energy Services. “These locations can vary from areas with no electricity to temporary roads built on top of the frozen tundra.”

ASRC’s fleet needs are as diverse as the terrain its employees encounter every day, which is why they’ve bought into Chevrolet’s three-truck strategy: Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD.

When it comes to light duty, the Silverado 1500 is the vehicle of choice to take ASRCs management team to and from project sites and carry clients an affordable-yet-rugged truck. The Colorado meets those demands with a smaller footprint. The Silverado HDs are a 365-days-a-year workhorses to aid client operations in the oil and gas market.

Each vehicle is specifically designed to tackle different aspects of a company’s needs which, when taken together, can benefit from single brand devotion.

“We build our trucks with companies like Arctic Slope in mind,” said John Schwegman, director, commercial product, General Motors. “Their employees don’t have time to worry about how the vehicle will operate when the weather is 40 degrees below zero. We ensure our vehicle’s performance will stand up to the test so they can get their work done.”

ASRC Energy Service’s fleet also counts on service to keep downtime to a minimum. “On the service side, GM knocks it out of the park,” said Maynard. “The Alaska market is pretty small, but GM looks at every sale as one of importance, so even the smallest problem gets special focus from a GM engineer, even if that means they have to send one to Alaska.”
To learn more about Chevrolet fleet vehicle options, click here.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

2016 Toyota Tacoma First Drive Is Coming

We will be driving quite a few of the latest-generation Toyota Tacoma pickups this week along with hundreds of other journalists in Washington state. This new truck, in the growing midsize segment, has a spotlight on it since the Tacoma has been a top seller in the midsize arena for as long as we can remember. And from the looks of it — or at least what we saw back in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit — there's plenty of new technology and upgrades to keep it the frontrunner.

Still, the big question is how well this new truck will perform against the new, strong-selling Chevrolet Colorado. If this new Tacoma doesn't go far enough, we could have quite a battle on our hands. As it stands now, through July 2015 Tacoma sales are double Colorado sales.

We'll have our written and video driving impressions ready for posting on Monday, August 17. In the meantime, let us know what you want to know about the new Tacoma, and we'll do our best to pass along the answers. Submit a question in the comment space below, and you'll help us cover all the angles. More to come.

Cars.com images by Mark Williams

 Source:see more pictires at:


E-350 Cutaway with 10' Harbor WorkMaster Plumber Body

Kent of Ford Fairfield is showing off a great work truck. This 10' Harbor WorkMaster plumber style body is on a single rear wheel E350 Cutaway chassis. This great chassis allows for a longer body than on a conventional cab, plus it is lower to the ground, shorter in overall length, and essentially no wider than a standard cargo van. All of these features and more contribute to making this vehicle easy to maneuver in tight city streets.

This body also comes in a low roof version for those who need to get in and out of parking garages, but the high roof has such great benefit because you can stand up inside rather than being hunched over. That sure makes getting in and out of the back or working inside a breeze.

To learn more, go to http://www.FairfieldWorkTrucks.com, or call Kent Fry at 707-337-2921.


Ford Secures 1,000-Plus U.S. Jobs, Starts Production of All-New Ford F-650/F-750 Medium-Duty Trucks in Ohio

  •     Ford kicks off production of 2016 F-650/F-750 for the first time in the United States; medium-duty truck lineup – previously assembled in Mexico – now built at Ohio Assembly Plant
  •     All-new F-650/F-750 medium-duty truck production shift to Ford’s facility in Avon Lake, Ohio, helps to secure more than 1,000 UAW hourly jobs and $168 million U.S. plant investment                
  •     2016 Ford F-650/F-750 trucks, available this summer, deliver commercial-grade quality, capability and convenience, and feature segment-exclusive Ford diesel and gasoline engines, delivering strong performance at an affordable price
Ohio Assembly Plant Fact Sheet

AVON LAKE, Ohio, Aug. 12, 2015 – All-new Ford F-650/F-750 medium-duty trucks roll off the line today for the first time in the United States. Production of the trucks at Ohio Assembly Plant, previously built in Mexico, helps secure more than 1,000 hourly UAW jobs and a $168 million plant investment in the United States.

2016 F-650/F-750 trucks, the toughest, smartest, best-value medium-duty trucks ever, anchor Ford’s commercial vehicle lineup – America’s best-selling commercial trucks for 30 straight years. Ford is the only truck manufacturer that provides vocational customers an unmatched one-stop shop to meet their needs – from the Class 1 Transit Connect cargo van to the Class 7 F-750 tractor rig.

“Our investment in Ohio Assembly Plant reinforces our commitment to building vehicles in America and to delivering best-in-class commercial trucks,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “Working with our partners in the UAW, we found a way to make the costs competitive enough to bring production of a whole new generation of work trucks to Ohio.”

Offered in Regular Cab, SuperCab and Crew Cab body styles and in straight-frame, dock-height and an all-new dedicated tractor model for heavy towing applications, the 2016 F-650/F-750 line features a bold new look inside and out.

Ford is the only medium-duty truck manufacturer that designs and builds its own diesel engine and transmission combination – ensuring the powertrain will work seamlessly with all chassis components and vehicle calibrations.

Along with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 diesel engine option, Ford remains the only automaker to offer a gasoline-powered engine in the medium-duty truck segment. The 6.8-liter V10 with 320 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque now will be available for both F-650 and F-750 models with the heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. The 6.8-liter can be factory-prepped for converting to compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas as cost-effective alternatives to gasoline.

Ohio Assembly Plant investment
In 2014, Ford announced a $168 million investment to shift production of F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio Assembly Plant, in addition to adding new body shop equipment and other tooling needed to produce the medium-duty vehicles. The production shift from Mexico is part of the collective bargaining agreement Ford and the United Auto Workers negotiated in 2011.

"Through collective bargaining, we were able to secure production of the Ford F-650/F-750 to Ohio Assembly Plant,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department. “Building these world-class vehicles in America helps secure jobs for more than 1,000 UAW members and provides economic growth for the Avon Lake community. Strengthening the economy through job creation continues our efforts to rebuild the American middle-class and communities all across this nation.”

Opened in 1974, Ohio Assembly Plant employs nearly 1,400 people and is one of the largest employers in Lorain County. In addition to now producing all Ford F-650 and F-750 models and configurations, the plant also produces Ford E-Series cutaway vans and stripped chassis.

Toughest, smartest, best-value Ford medium-duty truck ever

2016 Ford F-650/F-750 trucks are the toughest, smartest, best-value Ford medium-duty trucks ever – providing the ideal combination of value, capability and upfit readiness in the segment.

These attributes underscore the F-650/F-750’s position as the future of medium-duty trucks:
  •     Toughest: Fully designed and developed by Ford truck engineers in Dearborn, Mich.; robot-tested on taxing durability courses; 500,000-plus miles of harsh dynamometer engine testing at extreme power levels and temperatures; Ford-built in the U.S.
  •     Smartest: All-new upfit-friendly chassis developed in cooperation with leading industry body makers; clean chassis capable of accommodating vocational bodies with little to no modification; all-new dedicated tractor model for heavy towing
  •     Best value: Choice of segment-exclusive 6.8-liter V10 gas engine or 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel – both backed by Ford’s heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission enhanced for medium-duty use with great power, performance and fuel economy; includes unsurpassed five-year/250,000-mile warranty and national network of Ford service centers
More information regarding the all-new 2016 Ford F-650/F-750 lineup can be found here.
About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.

2015 Ford F-150 Honored for Innovation in Lightweighting with Altair Enlighten Award

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich., Aug. 3, 2015 – The all-new Ford F-150 – Ford’s toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever – earned recognition as the winner of the third annual Altair Enlighten Award from Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) for the truck’s use of lightweight materials to minimize weight.

The 2015 F-150 – with best-in-class towing, payload and EPA-estimated gasoline fuel economy plus five-star top government crash test ratings for every cab configuration – is being recognized for its total weight reduction of up to 700 pounds.

Starting with the signature fully boxed frame, Ford engineers increased the use of high-strength 70,000-psi steel – from 23 percent to 77 percent of the frame – to improve stiffness and durability while reducing weight. The new frame is up to 60 pounds lighter than the current frame. High-strength, aluminum alloys, already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries, are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance, and also saving weight.

“We are excited to present Ford with the 2015 Altair Enlighten Award,” said Dave Mason, Vice President of Global Automotive at Altair. “The judges recognized Ford’s best-in-class innovation with the company’s approach to weight reduction by incorporating advanced materials and design technologies for the F-150.”

The Altair Enlighten Awards highlight industry examples focused on minimizing the weight of products through innovative design techniques, materials technology and manufacturing processes. It also looks at products that improve industry best practices to respond to the challenges of mass management and meeting fuel economy targets, and addressing increasing vehicle safety requirements.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1If2ccH 

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 195,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.


Top 10 Tips 2015: Alternative Fuels

We hear a lot nowadays about the need for van fleet operators to help improve their environmental credentials and cut down on noxious emissions from their vehicles. One of the ways of doing this is to choose vans which use alternative fuels instead of traditional diesel.

That's all well and good, but any moves towards a greener fleet must also be balanced by financial considerations. At the end of the day, UK plc relies heavily on vans for deliveries of all sorts of goods. And it's no use investing heavily in greener methods of transport if the cost is so great that the company ends up going down the pan because of it.

Don't get us wrong, we are strong supporters of green transport here at VansA2Z, but we also want to help operators run cost-effective fleets too. Rushing into an alternative fuel policy and getting the balance wrong can be a costly mistake; be warned!

So without further ado, let's introduce our top 10 tips for helping you step safely through the alternative fuel minefield.

1 Avoid sentimentality

At the end of the day fleet operators are business managers who have a duty to protect the firm's bottom line as well as the environment, so any dewy-eyed ideas about saving the planet should be set firmly aside. Opting for greener-fuelled vehicles must be made within the context of the amount of money that your firm has to spend.

2 Be wary of figures

The current official fuel economy figures for vans are obtained by running the vehicles on a rolling road in a shed, so in real life you don't stand a hope in hell of achieving them. For example, a high roof van and low roof van will have the same figure under this method, whereas plainly once you get out on the road with a stiff wind against you, the hi-roofer will fare worse than its smaller brother.

Also the vans are tested empty so once you get a couple of tonnes of cargo on board and a few steep hills to climb, the official stats go right out of the window.

It's the same with electric vans. The manufacturers will have you believe that a van will travel up to 100 miles on a full charge, but our experience is that this figure is well above the real-life one. And don't forget that if you run out of electricity, you can't just tootle off to the garage with a can and get some more. Your van and its contents will be stranded on the side of the road, with all the problems that entails.

3 Hype is hype, don't forget that!

Unless you live under a stone, or maybe in Afghanistan, you will be aware that the Government — and indeed certain van manufacturers — are extolling the virtues of electric vans. There are grants to buy them, more and more points available to charge them and various tax incentives to boot, along with free drives into the London Congestion Charging zone.

But sadly, the truth is that they are unsuitable for many fleets. A few city delivery firms might find them very cost-effective and emissions free, but if your business involves thrashing up and down the M6 every day then forget it.

The other problem with electric vehicles is that most of them are small; the Renault Kangoo ZE and Nissan eNV200, for example. About the only manufacturer to offer a 3.5-tonner off the shelf is Iveco and you'll have to cough up around £65,000 for an electric Daily; around three times the price of a diesel variant. Ouch!

4 Take a wider view

So far we've had a lot to say about what not to do. But, we hear you ask, what should we do then if we want to green-up our fleets with alternatively fuelled vans?

Let's say first and foremost that here at VansA2Z, we simply don't believe electric vans will provide a credible mainstream alternative and won't be taken up by van fleets in any great number. But we've looked at other alternative fuels too and we like what we see...

5 CNG is a gas and it's ultra-clean too

You can't buy compressed natural gas at the pumps in the UK so it would be safe to assume it's a non-starter for fleets. But if you thought that, you'd be wrong. It's one of the cleanest fuels, coming largely from the gases emitted naturally from rubbish tips, and a number of firms will install a pump at your premises.

Meanwhile both the Iveco Daily and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are offered in CNG variants so you can buy off-the-shelf warranted products without having to worry about getting them converted yourself.

6 LPG is still alive and kicking

Despite having virtually disappeared from the world of LCVs a while back, liquid petroleum gas is still with us. Firms like Autogas will convert any petrol van for a cost of around £1,500 and with running costs at 10p per mile as opposed to 17p for diesel — with CO2 down 17 per cent and NOx down 20 per cent plus no particulate emissions — it makes a powerful case for itself. We reckon payback starts coming after 20,000 miles. After 80,000 miles a van running on LPG will save £2,800 in fuel over a diesel.

7 Petrol makes a comeback

You can't buy a 3.5-tonner with a petrol engine at present, but Ford is leading the march back to petrol with its natty 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine which is now available in its smaller vans. Petrol avoids the nasty particulates that come from diesel fuel and if you don't do high mileages, the vans and the petrol to power them are cheaper to buy than diesel variants. It's only at high mileages that diesel becomes the cheaper option.

8 Don't forget those residual values

Anyone who runs their vehicles by using wholelife costs — as they should do — will know the importance of residual values; ie what you get for your vans when you come to sell them. And sadly this is where most alternatively fuelled vans fall down as currently it appears that second users don't trust them and turn instead to the safer option of diesel. Electric vans particularly seem to be doing badly at selling time and LPG isn't much better. This must be factored into your decision about which green fuel to choose.

9 Beware the green meanies

Don't be rushed into making hasty decisions because you think you ought to do something quickly. On many occasions small groups of very vociferous people lead us to believe that what they say is what the majority of people in the country think; but this is very rarely the case.

Those people who would like to ban commercial vehicles from city centres would be the first to complain if there was no milk for their macrobiotic cereals in the morning. Any decision you make about alternative fuels should be made in the cold light of day and only after some serious investigations into cost and other implications.

10 Employ the carrot and stick

We interviewed the head honcho at a telematics company a few years back and he reckoned that all the Euro 6 emissions standards, alternative fuels, green credentials etc, were something of a smokescreen and that all these environmental problems could be solved in a trice if all vans were fitted with telematics systems to stop drivers yahooing about wasting fuel.

And we reckon he could be right there. However much you try and cut down on emissions, it all boils down to how heavy your drivers' right feet are when they get out of the yard.

Stick a speed limiter and a black box in the cab to cut down on driver abuse and you'll probably improve your green credentials as much as by paying a fortune for 'greener' vans that might not even be capable of carrying out the tasks you need them to accomplish.

Source and Video:  http://www.vansa2z.com/Top-10-Tips-2015-Alternative-Fuels


Customer Experience, Innovation Key Priorities for Daimler Trucks North America Aftermarket

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. –  Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) aftermarket executives today shared their strategic vision for their business, emphasizing innovation, integration and consistency to provide excellent customer experience. DTNA is continuing to build a service network together with their dealers and distributors that strive for market leadership in customer satisfaction by investing in and providing service solutions.

“We are driving industry-leading innovation through our products and services,” said Friedrich Baumann, senior vice president, Aftermarket for Daimler Trucks North America. “DTNA will continue to focus on lowering real cost of ownership and increasing vehicle uptime. Our objective is to offer a suite of solutions, which anticipates, personalizes and transforms customer experience.”

Baumann pointed to the evolution of the customer experience, “through the integration of best-in-class back-counter parts availability, service quality, customer communication, business relationships and enhanced telematics.  It is the integration of all of these service aspects which will make the difference for our customers.”

“Many industries have done a good job considering how customer needs progress as new products are introduced,” noted Baumann. “Our goal is to elevate what we have already done, incorporate additional best practices we have seen in other industries, and reshape the definition of customer experience within the trucking industry.”

The foundation of DTNA’s focus on customer experience is built by its outstanding relationship with the DTNA dealer and distributor network and the joint investments and collaborative execution of a whole suite of industry leading aftermarket initiatives. 

“Our dealers and distributors are on the frontline, and we need to arm them with the best tools, systems and resources to deliver a great customer experience,” said Baumann. “This is how we are jointly creating a long-term business partnership with our customers.”

Ray Hufnagel, president, Plastic Express: “What’s imperative to us is to work with a team who is a business partner – our dealer collaborates with our business to ensure our drivers, our trucks and our loads are all pieces of the customer experience equation.  Having a dealer partner that understands and fully supports our business on this level helps us to be successful.”

“It’s about taking what we have developed and going one step further. For example, programs such as Elite Support are already focusing on not just servicing trucks, but on the entire customer experience,” said Catherine Auckland, director of aftermarket marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. “Uptime is expected by our customers and is the basic requirement of any service business.  Our customers at DTNA expect more. Partnered with the best network in the industry we’re elevating the entire customer experience.”

Elite Support has a stringent certification process which requires dealers to meet specific criteria across twenty customer experience areas. The entire experience – from service to training to facility design – is geared towards creating a productive, efficient and comfortable customer-focused experience.

DTNA’s entire suite of aftermarket business solutions touches upon every aspect of the customer experience such as centralized billing, an online parts ordering tool, retail inventory management systems, and sophisticated service tools and communications.

“We are considering every interaction, every service event, as an opportunity to consistently deliver on our promises,” said Auckland.

“It’s important that we proactively demonstrate our commitment and continuous improvement efforts to customers,” said Brad Fauvre, president, Velocity Vehicle Group. “And for us, that first starts with our relationship with DTNA. Our joint investment in our customer’s experience is critical.”

About Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer

Contact: David.Giroux@Daimler.com

2015 Ford Transit Because your van IS your office.

The all-new, full-size Ford Transit with available EcoBoost® engine fits any business like a work glove. See how this full-sized, completely-customizable van can make a hard workday a lot easier.

The official YouTube channel of Ford Commercial Trucks. Learn more about our Transit and Transit Connect wagons, and how we designed them to be Built Ford Tough.® You’ll also see examples of how Ford trucks and vans can help any business boost productivity.

Ford Transit: http://www.ford.com/trucks/transitvan...
Ford Transit Connect:

See the all-new 2015 Ford Transit at http://www.ford.com/trucks/transitvan....


Six Tips for First Time Towing

 You've just bought your first camper, horse trailer, boat or cargo hauler, and now you have to tow it from the place you bought it to where you're going to store it. Don't get caught unprepared. While towing might seem intimidating at first, the following tips, coupled with the right equipment and practice, can make you a master tower.

These are the most important issues to consider when towing:

1. Weight compatibility

The most important factor to consider when towing anything is weight compatibility — cars and trucks have specific towing weight limits. Know how much your tow rig and your trailer weighs. A simple trip to the local scales will get you started. Make sure that your tow vehicle can handle the weight you plan to tow. Follow manufacturer recommendations wherever possible. Every vehicle capable of towing will have a posted maximum tow rating. Check your owner's manual first, but manufacturer websites should also have the information.
2. Understand the language of towing

Towing has a language all its own, and you need to learn it for buying, towing and following the law in your state. There are many acronyms in trailering and most have to do with weights and capacities. Below are just some of the most important:

    Max tow rating: The largest total weight recommended by the tow vehicle maker that a particular rig can tow safely.
    Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR): This is the total amount of weight a fully loaded truck can carry safely as determined by the manufacturer. The total number should include passengers, fluids, cargo and any applicable tongue weight.
    Gross combined weight rating (GCWR): This is the total allowable weight of a fully loaded tow vehicle and trailered vehicle that includes all tow vehicle occupants, cargo, fluids, tongue weight and accessories. One mistake often made is underestimating the total weight of your truck and trailer. Making another trip to the local scales with a fully loaded setup is recommended.
    Gross trailer weight rating (GTWR): You should be able to find this on a metal tag attached somewhere on the trailer frame. It states the maximum allowable weight of the cargo and the trailer combined.
    Gross axle weight rating (GAWR): This describes the maximum weight a single trailer axle can safely carry, independent of the rest of the rig.

3. Hitch balls are critical safety gear

The hitch ball is attached to the tow vehicle receiver hitch. Many vehicles come with a factory-installed receiver that are typically attached to the frame or reinforced section of a unibody. Higher-quality aftermarket hitches are available as well, but all should be clear about exact weight rating capabilities. The ball itself supports some trailer weight and couples the trailer with the truck or car. Trailer hitches are categorized by tongue weight, and as hitch numbers climb, so does the tongue weight it can handle.

Towing Mirrors II

Tongue weight, or the amount of weight on the vehicle's hitch, is an important issue. If your tongue weight is less than 10 percent of the weight of the fully loaded trailer, the trailer will probably sway a bit, making it difficult to control. On the other hand, if you have too much weight on the tongue (let's say more than 15 percent of total trailer load weight), your tow vehicle's rear tires can overload (and overheat) and push the rear end of the vehicle around; this makes stopping and handling curves and cornering difficult.

4. Always use safety chains

Nobody who wants to tow safely would fail to make sure the trailer and tow vehicle are attached, not only between ball and tongue, but also with strong safety chains. Experienced towers cross the chains under the trailer tongue so in case of a catastrophic separation, the trailer and the hitch are less likely to separate. Be sure there is enough chain slack to make turns, and always be sure the chains will not drag on the pavement.
5. Trailer load balance is important

Most manufacturers recommend you distribute 60 percent of the weight of the trailer load over the front half of the trailer. After you have the load balanced correctly, make sure that cargo is secured with straps or tie-downs. When cargo shifts, your load becomes unbalanced, making your trailer unstable and less predictable.
6. Driving with a trailer

At the risk of oversimplifying the point, driving with a fully loaded trailer — when done properly and safely — is not much more difficult than driving your tow vehicle empty. However, do not confuse the two as the driving techniques and vision strategies are very different. Most people tow a boat, a camper or perhaps a car trailer to a show or race.

First, use common sense. Second, when driving with a trailer, everything you do should be done at half the speed without the trailer. This means turning and stopping will take more time — so allow twice the distance for the increased mass. Also, remember to allow for your extra length when you change lanes. And, finally, be sure to watch for objects and/or situations far enough ahead of you to react with plenty of time. Look much farther ahead than normal so you'll have plenty of time to slow or change course if an unanticipated person or vehicle comes into your path.

Most experienced towers prefer pickup trucks over SUVs and full-size cars. Pickups generally have better power-to-weight ratios and more torque than cars, and extra power is needed for hauling trailers up hills and mountains. Generally speaking, full-size pickups can handle more trailer weight than a car or SUV mainly due to their stronger frame construction, but you'll need to weigh quite a few factors when deciding on the right vehicle for your needs.

For more information about towing or products you might need to do it safely, visit Curt Manufacturing.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

Source: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2015/07/six-tips-for-first-time-towing.html


Refrigerated Cargo Van Keeps Costs Low

For refrigerated delivery, the new Ford Transit is a perfect size and so maneuverable around town. Kent Fry, Commercial/Fleet Manager at Ford Fairfield in Fairfield CA shows us an example of a great cargo van converted to a refrigerated delivery vehicle. This can be done in any of the Transit models and different roof heights as well as other kinds of units such as a larger van body.

See more about our commercial truck department at http://www.FairfieldWorkTrucks.com, or call Kent Fry at 707-337-2921.

Masterack Van Package - Standard Aluminum

Part # 0AL100KP


This lightweight interior has aluminum shelving, toolbox cradles, full-length drawers, and a full line of
customizable accessories. The aluminum is 30% lighter than steel with the ability to support a comparable capacity. Our aluminum shelf modules are made in the U.S.A. Partitions sold separately.

Find out more at:  http://masterack.com/

2016 Chevy Colorado Special Models Dressed to Impress

Midnight Edition, Z71 Trail Boss 
complement capability with customized style

DETROIT – On the street or on the trail, the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado’s Midnight Edition and Z71 Trail Boss bring bolder choices to customers looking to make a visual statement with their truck.

The special editions roll into Chevrolet dealerships this fall, with distinctly tailored appearances that blend custom design cues with Colorado’s popular options and accessories. The Midnight Edition evokes the aesthetic of an urban tuner vehicle, while the Z71 Trail Boss is designed for terrain where the pavement ends.

“These are aggressive editions of one of the country’s hottest-selling truck, demonstrating the personalization that’s possible with Chevrolet accessories, whether it’s for the street, trail or both,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “As the Colorado continues to win over new customers, the new Midnight Edition and Z71 Trail Boss give them more choices and build on segment-leading capabilities and efficiency.” 

Colorado Midnight Edition
Echoing the blacked-out design theme introduced on the popular Silverado Midnight Edition, the 2016 Colorado Midnight Edition casts an imposing stance. Offered exclusively in black, additional exterior details such as the grille, the bowtie emblem and the 18-inch aluminum wheels are also finished in black.

Additional content includes a spray-on bedliner and soft, folding tonneau cover – both in black, of course – and Chevrolet-logo sill plates.

The Colorado Midnight Edition is available on LT models with the extended and crew cab bodies, in 2WD or 4WD, and with the 2.5L and 3.6L engines. It will also be available with the all-new 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel engine. Pricing will be announced later.

Colorado Z71 Trail Boss
The 2016 Colorado Z71 Trail Boss builds on the capability of Chevrolet’s Z71 off-road truck suspension package with more aggressive tires and off-road-inspired appearance enhancements.

An all-new sport bar with LED trail lighting makes the new edition of the Trail Boss instantly identifiable. It’s complemented by black-finished 17-inch aluminum wheels matched with aggressive Goodyear Wrangler DuraTec® 265/65R17 all-terrain tires, bold fender flares and tubular assist steps. It also features a black bowtie grille emblem and a spray-on bedliner, and a set of all-weather floor mats inside the truck.

The Colorado Z71 Trail Boss is available on Z71 models with the extended and crew cab bodies, and in 2WD or 4WD. Like the Midnight Edition, it will also be available with the 2.5L and 3.6L engines, as well as the 2.8L Duramax diesel. Pricing will be announced later.

Colorado at a glance
Colorado sales tallied 41,575 for the first six months of 2015, expanding the midsize truck market and driving new truck customers to Chevrolet – particularly in areas such as California and Texas, traditional hotspots for import brands.

Colorado’s sales for the first half of the year have outpaced Nissan Frontier by nearly 20 percent. 

Colorado, the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Cars.com’s Best Pickup Truck of 2015, offers the most horsepower and best highway efficiency in the segment, as well as the highest available trailering rating – 7,000 pounds (V-6 models when properly equipped) – and higher payload rating – 1,590 pounds (V-6 models when properly equipped).

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.