The 2011 Work Truck Show, held in conjuction with the 47th Annual National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Convention, is currently taking place in Indianapolis. Some 560 suppliers are gathered in more than 500,000 square feet of floor space. This show is huge! More than 40 industry-specific sessions are planned, and a few took place today.

The event started Monday with the Green Truck Summit and began with a keynote speech by David Strickland, administration for the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA). A video of the keynote is below:

 

Following the keynote speech were several "green"-focused sessions.

The first session was put on by John Boesel at CALSTART and Doyle Sumrall, senior director of Business Development for the NTEA. According to Boesel, did you know that the U.S. contains 5 percent of the overall world population, yet we consume 25 percent of the worldws oil? This number just isn't sustainable and we need to do something about it. The U.S. spends $300 billion per year importing oil -- again, not a sustainable number, according to Boesel. It's a problem on the national security level as well as the economic level. Also discussed was the agency CALSTART, which has 130 member companies and is working to spread the word and help with the infrastructure needed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. is getting the message. In 2001, there were no hybrid trucks on the road. Today, we see 3,500-plus hybrid trucks on the road. Next, Sumrall discussed the dip in truck sales in 2009 and the current recovery and expected recovery through 2015. Also covered were the results of an NTEA fleet survey, showing that fleet purchases of alt-fuel trucks is slowing, but the outlook for the 2nd half of 2011 is looking up. Surprisingly, the majority of respondents (58 percent) said their purchase of green trucks in the next 6-12 months is not due to state and federal clean air mandates, but because its the right thing to do from an environmental standpoint.

The second session discussed plans for 2016 fuel efficiency regulations. Participating were Darren Gosbee, director, EV and Hybrid Powertrain development for Navistar, Dave Bryant for Freightliner Trucks, and Seth Deutsch, director of marketing & business development, Hybrid Power Systems Division for Eaton Corp. Gosbee began the session by providing an overview of fuel effieincy regulations and the joint regulation proposed by EPA and NHTSA. He clarified that there are two legislations -- one for engines and one for trucks. A timeline for the fuel effiency regulations was provided as well as the EPA regulatory class definitions. Goesbee also discussed what Navistar is doing currently with green trucks and concluded with an overview of Navistar products, including the Navistar Hybrid powertrain. Bryant provided an overview of of Freightliners products and its use of Daimler technology. Deutsche from Eaton provided an overview of the medium-duty electric power systems. More than 4,300 units are deployed globally that have traveled more than 110 million miles. Deutsche also discussed the opportunities and challenges surrounding hybrid trucksand the regulatory pressure to "go green."

The third Monday morning session revolved around "Fleet Strategies for Increasing Fuel Economy and Reducing Emissions." Speakers were Mike Britt, director of maintenance and engineering for UPS, Rafael Rivero, director of sustainability and supply chain for Verizon Communications, and Steve Saltzgiver, director of fleet operations, North American Business Unit, for Coca-Cola Refreshments U.S. Each speaker discussed what their companies are doing to reduce emissions, the history of their programs, and the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their programs.

After the lunch break, a few additional concurrent sessions took place, but I headed over to the NTEA sessions to see what was going on there. I attended the session "Calculating Commercial Vehicle Weight Distribution and Payload Made Easy" presented by Richard Toner, principal of Toner Associates, where he has consulted since 1982 as an expert wintnss concerning accident reconstruction and vehicle product liability. Toner discussed what weight distribution really is and why its important, included dual-wheel configurations. A detailed descripton of key truck dimensions was provided, and the effect of adding additional weight at various locations was addressed. Toner reviewed the NTEA Payload analysis worksheet, as well as a few (at first) slightly overwhelming equations to determine the "Total Moment" (a way to combine a number of components or items to calculate a center-of-gravity for them as a group) and the Center of Gravity for a truck with cargo and passengers for calculating weight distribution. Luckily, he noted that NTEA has a spreadsheet to help with all of that, available for a fee to members and non-members.

That concludes the sessions I'll be able to attend. A lot of this will be covered more in-depth in future print and/or Web articles so keep yours eyes out for Work Truck. From here out will be press conferences and some interviews with product suppliers and manufacturers. Keep tuned to Chatty Chassis for updates from tonights Press Conferences with Western Star and Ford!! More great stuff to come.

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the teams content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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