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Mack’s new MD truck line uses Cummins 6.7-L diesel engines. (Mack Trucks)

Commercial trucks employ range of power systems

Isuzu and Mack roll out medium-duty trucks with internal-combustion engines, while Ford and Spartan Motors highlight new electric-vehicle offerings.

Regulations continue to transform the powerplants used in commercial trucks, making fuel consumption and emissions reductions twin goals for many OEMs, upfitters and aftermarket suppliers at the NTEA Work Truck Show. Green trends and mileage requirements drove trends at the 20th annual show, which also addressed electrification and alternative fuels at the show’s Green Trucks Summit.

“Some of the major challenges our industry will face in the coming decade are the result of emissions regulations,” said Shaun C. Skinner, president, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. The Green Trucks Summit focused largely on electrification plans, but a couple major product announcements at the show were petroleum-based. Isuzu announced a pair of gasoline engines, while Mack unveiled its Class 6 and 7 medium-duty trucks, which use 6.7-L diesel engines.

Isuzu rolled out two V8s, unveiling 6.6- and 6.0-L gasoline engines. The larger engine will power the Class 3 NPR and Class 4 NPR-HD, while the 6.0-L V8 will debut in two Class 5 trucks, the NQR and NRR. The NRR Gas is said to be the first gasoline-powered 19,500-lb GVWR Class 5 low cab forward truck. The engines use direct injection and variable valve timing to improve efficiency. The 6.6-liter engine has an output of 350 hp (261 kW) and 425 lb-ft (576 Nm) at 3800 rpm. The 6.0-liter engine, built by Power Solutions International using a Vortec V8 block, produces 311 hp (232 kW) and generates 353 lb-ft (479 Nm) at 4,150 rpm.

Mack addressed medium-duty applications with its MD6 and MD7, which both use Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engines linked to Allison transmissions. The two vehicles are targeted at applications like dry van/refrigerated, tank trucks, dump, stake and flatbeds. They’re designed for tight working situations. “Maneuverability is key for the design,” said Roy Horton, Mack’s director of product strategy.

On the electric side, Ford announced the production timeframe for its all-electric Transit, which is slated for model year 2022. It will come in several configurations including cargo van, cutaway and chassis cab, with three roof heights. That announcement is part of Ford’s $11.5 billion investment in electrification. The company predicted that electric vehicles will grow to 8% of the U.S. market in 2025. Ford didn’t provide additional details on the electric Transit other than to say telematic links and several safety features will be available.

Aftermarket suppliers and upfitters at the Work Truck Show addressed both electrification and alternative fuels. Spartan Fleet Vehicles and Services, which markets Utilimaster products, introduced two fully electric vehicles. A walk-in van designed in collaboration with Motiv Power Systems runs on lithium-ion batteries. It matches conventional vehicle performance while offering an 85% reduction in operating costs and a 66% reduction in maintenance costs.

An electrified chassis, created by Spartan Motors and Cummins using Isuzu’s strip chassis, addresses last-mile deliveries. It has an 85-mile range, a 3,200-lb payload, and will charge in under six hours. Alliance AutoGas came out with a propane-powered version of Ford’s 7.3-L V8. This engine could provide fuel savings of $1 per gallon and extend range beyond 700 miles. It also removes the complexity of servicing emission control systems.

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