With increasing emission regulations for diesel equipment, moves toward fuel options and more telematics and technology, work truck original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) face many challenges. However, the goal of an efficient, durable piece of equipment that performs in harsh and demanding environments remains the same. Accomplishing this in today’s environment complicates the process, though. International Trucks and Ford experts discuss how their companies are taking up the gauntlet and facing these challenges.
GHG Emission Regulations
According to Andy Hanson, director, product marketing for International Trucks, 2024 will bring another greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standard for heavy-duty vehicles and with that diesel engines will again be evolving.
“International is releasing an engine technology that requires no active regeneration of the emissions system which will relate to more uptime on the jobsite in truck applications that see a large amount of engine idling,” Hanson said. “International’s S13 Integrated Powertrain boasts an engine that uses a clean burn technology that allows for the elimination of the exhaust gas recirculation cooler (EGR) and diesel oxidation catalyst.”
Because the engine maximizes the fuel’s potential, the engine produces less soot and puts less strain on the diesel particulate filter.
Over-the-air updating is one technology trend that most work truck OEMs are including. This allows work trucks and other equipment to be updated when new software or capabilities are available. This includes technology such as a truck’s electronic control modules and a few select programmable parameters.
“At International this service is called OnCommand Connect and it comes standard on our heavy trucks. OnCommand Connect comes with a 4G transceiver called the N2 and a 5-year service contract. This hardware and service combination ensures [that] the truck uses the most up-to-date software to maximize performance and efficiency,” Hanson said. “It also gives fleet managers easy and quick access to parameters such as road speed limits and maximum idle times. The trend here is to expand beyond the proprietary components and offer remote programming services for supplier-supplied components, such as engines and transmissions. Also, remote programming opens the door to other conveniences such as remote door lock and unlock.”
Technology is also a priority for Ford work trucks, according to Kevin Lieberum, commercial truck brand manager, Ford Pro
“Our full range of ... vehicles, like the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit, are supported by a high-tech suite of always-on digital integration software, service and charging solutions through Ford Pro—so our customers not only have the right tools for the job, but they always have the support they need to maximize uptime and keep their businesses and agencies on the road.”
According to Lieberum, “Ford is leading the way in smart vehicle technology with a range of features designed to simplify the driving and towing experience … [The] Super Duty is also the first pickup truck in North America to offer 5G LTE connectivity, followed by F-150, to open up new dimensions in data transfer and vehicle management.
Some of the smart technology that Ford Pro offers includes:
- Tailgate down camera and rear park aid sensors: A camera and sensors on the top of the tailgate provide visual and audible alerts when the tailgate is lowered to make backing up to a loading dock or hitching a trailer easier.
- Onboard scales with Smart Hitch: Estimates payload in real time and provides guidance on trailer tongue weight distribution
- Blind spot information system for fifth-wheel and gooseneck: Can be attached to a trailer to help identify when vehicles are next to a trailer and indicate this in the side view mirrors.
- Pro trailer navigation: Plots routes that can be navigated with given trailer dimensions and weight.
- Trail turn assist: Allows drivers to virtually lock either rear wheel to shrink their turn radius to 180 degrees.
To maintain uptime, Ford also includes tiered telematics offerings for its modem-equipped trucks.
“All modem-equipped Ford vehicles come standard with Ford Pro Telematics Essentials, our entry-level telematics solution,” Lieberum said.
The complimentary one-year solution provides actionable insights and a full-spectrum view of a contractor’s fleet health in one easy view. If a more robust system is needed, Ford Pro offers one.
“Ford Pro Telematics goes several steps further by including real-time GPS tracking, geofencing, and driver behavior insights—on top of all the benefits of Telematics Essentials,” Lieberum said. “This comprehensive solution is designed with the help of experienced fleet managers and includes in-cab driver coaching, giving real-time audible alerts based on customizable driver parameters.”
In addition to efficient diesel power, engine and equipment OEMs are exploring the use of other fuel options—including biodiesel, hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and hydrogen—and battery electric power.
The International Trucks eMV truck, its electric offering, has been on the market for just over 2 years.
“As with all medium-duty products, the eMV design has chassis similarities to the eCE school bus, which was launched in September 2020,” Hanson said. “The eMV comes with a … Dana TM4 high-voltage motor that produces 190 kilowatts continuous (255 kilowatts peak) power.”
Maintenance for the eMV is also simplified. The benefits include:
- No engine oil maintenance
- No fuel filters
- No turbos, no EGR, no Injectors
- No engine air filters
- No aftertreatment
“With Navistar recently joining the United Nations Global Compact in 2023, which is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, you can be assured that more vocational truck models will be electrified in the coming years,” Hanson said. “Delivering zero emission vehicles and creating a circular business model will lead to exciting new products in the years ahead."
Electric-powered vehicles is a Ford priority as well. The company plans to invest more than $50 billion in electric vehicles (EVs) globally through 2026.
“Last year, Ford was the No. 2 EV maker in the U.S., and we plan to challenge for the top spot as we ramp up production to meet growing demand, Lieberum said.”
The growth is expected to continue, especially among the F150 Lightning line.
“Ford’s F-150 Lightning, for instance, will see increased production at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center this fall to reduce customer wait times, especially for the high-demand F-150 Lightning XLT model,” Lieberum said. “Meanwhile, E-Transit is helping thousands of customers operate with zero-emissions while aligning to broader sustainability goals.”
Multifunction Onboard PTO Systems
A major accessory for work trucks is an auxiliary or power take-off (PTO) power system, which helps personnel perform many tasks. Equipment that may be included in these systems are:
- Air compressors
- Engine starters
- Custom mobile power equipment
Several companies have systems that are suitable for onboard power systems with multi-functionality.
Vanair ALL-IN-ONE Power System
The Vanair Air N Arc 330 Diesel ALL-IN-ONE Power System includes a partnership with Lincoln Electric. The system stands alone and is fully functional without being integrated with the chassis fuel system and battery, enabling effortless removal and installation on and off the vehicle. This flexibility empowers fleets, providing the option to leave the unit behind at the jobsite. Another testament to the Air N Arc's adaptability is the streamlined access to all functions through a single control panel, positioned for convenience and safety.
The PTO Shaft-Driven Underdeck ALL-IN-ONE Power System was also featured. This system provides six forms of power:
- Air compressor
- Battery boosting
- Battery charging
- Hydraulic-driven power
The underdeck capability saves up to 2,000 pounds of space, frees up the hitch of the truck and requires less maintenance.
VMAC Multifunction Power System
A Honda iGX800 V-Twin EFI gas engine powers the 5-in-1 Multifunction Power System from VMAC. The system includes a 40-cubic-foot-per-minute rotary screw air compressor, an 8-kilowatt generator, a 250-amp welder, a 300-amp battery booster, and a 12-/24-volt battery charger.
The system includes everything needed for heavy-duty mechanic work and is engineered for service truck bodies. Its design reduces noise levels on the jobsite with noise reduction panels, automated idle controls, and standby mode. The compact package fits on the side pack or behind the cab.
International PTO System
For years, International Trucks has offered aftermarket PTO prep kits that allow for quick installation during upfitting.
“This prep-kit is integrated into the Diamond Logic electrical system which allows for a robust offing of body-chassis interlocks and safety features,” Hanson said.
With the new S13 Integrated Powertrain, International Trucks will include a factory-installed PTO system, which decreases upfitting times.
“The reduced upfitting times are achieved by allowing the body company to focus on what they do best and that’s hydraulics and body manufacturing while leaving the transmission and its associated components to the OEM,” Hanson said.
The PTO system will be installed in Huntsville, Alabama, where the S13 Integrated Powertrain is manufactured. This means that the body company doesn’t need to open the transmission’s case to install the PTO, which can lead to leaks or other failures.
The eMV from International does not currently have a PTO system. However, the plan is to include this next year. “Next year, the eMV will have an integrated ePTO/ePower system that will reduce upfitting costs and time by allowing the body companies to access the chassis battery systems,” Hanson said.
To avoid the need for an invertor or a generator, many customers want the Ford Pro Power OnBoard (PPOB). This system, available on F-150, F-150 hybrid, Super Duty, E-Transit and up to 9.6 kW of power on F-150 Lightning, powers tools, lights or anything on a jobsite
“For contractors who do not want to haul around a generator and risk it getting stolen from the bed, PPOB is a great feature,” Lieberum said.
“When you combine PPOB with the tailgate work surface, you have a mobile workshop. When combined with a bi-directional wallbox from Ford, F-150 Lightning can even power a house for days! Then with 5G Wi-Fi in the can, you have a sanctuary to stay connected and get work done wherever you are. Our customers are able to work effectively from wherever the job takes them.”
Editor’s Note: We had the opportunity to attend the official launch event for the S13 Integrated Powertrain and drive the International Trucks vehicle in 2022 in Las Vegas. You can learn more here.
We also had the opportunity to learn about and drive the Ford 2023 F-Series Super Duty pickup in June 2023. Learn more here.