It's time for The Work Truck Show 2012 in Indianapolis. Held March 4-8 (including the Green Truck Summit) it has an abundance of educational opportunities, product launches, and chances for me to get to see what the industry has to offer.

Over the next few days I'll be updating this blog with some highlights from the show. So, check back often and see what may have been added. If you weren't able to make it this year, see what you missed. If you're here with me, I'm sure there is still sure to be something you will enjoy.

Follow us on twitter (@worktruckmag) for more frequent, quick updates on the show!

Photo Gallery has been posted as of March, 19! Click here to view.

MONDAY, March 5

The Green Truck Summit

Today was the Green Truck Summit portion of the Work Truck Show. The opening keynote speaker was U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu, who gave a presentation entitled, "Unleasing Innovation to Transform the Transportation Sector." He quoted President Barack Obama, who said, "It's time to take control of our energy future." Dr. Chu also presented climate change data and shared that the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition has saved more than 72 million gallons of gasoline.

During a session on work truck technology trends, John Boesel, president and CEO of CALSTART, provided this sobering statistic: Since 1986, we have consumed approximately 50% of all oil consumed by the human race to date. Those are some frightening numbers!

The presentation on "Gaseous Fuels: A Successful Alternative" included Darren Engle, director of marketing for Alliance Autogas partner Blue Star Gas. He noted that there is not one "magic bullet" alternative fuel that's right for everyone. Alternative-fuel suppliers and vehicle manufacturers must work together toward the common goal: reducing our dependence on oil.

Representatives from Altec Industries, Verizon, and Frito-Lay discussed the electrification of the work truck market, and their successes.

The final group session at the Summit focused on technology to increase fuel efficiency and eliminate fuel waste. Two real-world fleets presented their tales, including George Survant of Florida Power & Light and Tony Bizjak, CAFM of Prince George's County, Md., Fire & EMS Dept.

There were also a number of breakout sessions, including one on Idle Reduction Technologies. One fun highlight from that session voiced the question surrounding remote-start technologies and it's adverse impact on anti-idling efforts.

The first press conference to kick off this year's event was by Ford Commercial Trucks. They announced that the 2013 next-generation Ford Transit Connect will come with a 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 engine.

Also on display was the Odyne Hybrid Power plug-in system, designed to interface with a wide variety of truck mounted equipment, lowering fuel consumption by up to 50%, depending on duty cycle, reducing emissions, and providing quieter operation at the work site.

TUESDAY, March 6

Today was just about all press conferences, and there was SO MUCH going on! New product launches everywhere, status updates, and, so far, it's clear that the theme of this show is "green, green, green."

WeatherGuard started the show with the first press conference of the day, showing off its new van storage solutions. On display was its easy-to-remove rack systems for small and large cargo vans, as well as the standard polycarbonate bulkhead system. The quick changing of shelving was demonstrated, as well as a strength-test for the bulkhead window that consisted of dropping an electrical saw straight into it. Not a scratch or a crack after repeated drops.

Next up for me, I attended the Ram Commercial Trucks press conference. Launched today ws the Ram Chassis Cab-back Cutaway (great for ambulance, emergency vehicles, etc.); the Tradesman 1500 in both Quad Cab and Crew Cab (now giving three cab styles to choose from); and last, but most certainly not least, the Ram 2500 Heavy-Duty compressed natural gas (CNG) truck. This truck is not a conversion of upfit, it is a factory built CNG truck.

Then - it was time for me to present the Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award to (drumroll please) the Isuzu Reach!! Isuzu and Utilimaster worked together on this vehicle and we'll be featuring them on the May/June cover of Work Truck magazine. Congrats to Isuzu and Utilimaster on the win!

(Don't get tired of reading just yet -- remember, this is just a snapshot as my poor feet can attest!)

Afterwards, I made my way around the show floor checking out as many of the booths as I could on my way to chat with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). Darren Engle, director of marketing for Alliance Autogas partner Blue Star Gas and Alan McEwan, programs manager, engine fuel for PERC, who provided me with an opportunity to understand the entire method for refueling a propane autogas vehicle, walking me through each step and discussing the benefits of propane autogas, much of which we have been covering in Work Truck for our readers.

What a busy day! But it wasn't over yet. At the General Motors press conference, yet another alternative-fuel truck was unveiled: bi-fuel 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks. The vehicles include a compressed natural gas (CNG) capable Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine. GM is the only manufacturer to offer a single-source option for its gaseous fuel vehicles. The bi-fuel trucks are built with a specially designed engine, the fuel system is installed by GM's Tier One supplier, IMPCO.

Moving on I visited with the folks at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. booth, where they provided an overview of the all-new S2G chassis, which provides the industry with the only factory-installed liquid propane gas (LPG) engine available to the medium-duty truck market. Order banks open in the 4th quarter and will start shipping out in 1st quarter of 2013. This is another alt-fuel vehicle that comes factory built from the manufacturer.

VIA Motors launched its all-new extended-range electric vehicle (e-REV) cargo van and had Verizon on hand to share how it will be piloting two of these units in its telecom business fleet. Production starts in August 2012 with deliveries starting right away. All GM models, from a relationship that began in 2007, VIA is planning production of 2,700 of these e-REV cargo vans in 2012 and ramping up to 20,000 in 2013.


Wednesday morning included the president's breakfast with a keynote speech from President George W. Bush. (Unfortunately, media was only given a 3-minute window and I don't have coverage of his remarks or photos as this time.) At the breakfast, Frank Livas, president of Brake & Clutch, Inc. (Salem, MA), was installed as the 48th President of the NTEA.

Before the first press conference started, I took a moment to walk the show floor and take some of the pics that will be posted to a photo gallery (linked here soon).

I headed over to the Odyne press conference. Odyne is a clean technology company for trucks over 14,000-lbs., which is mostly focused on goverment, telecom, and utility fleets. They announced companies such as NiSource, Consumers Energy, PHI, and Excellon/ComEd are currently testing its technology in their fleets.

Mark Whaley, EVP of Omaha Standard PALFINGER started a press conference announcing the launch of five total new cranes, including two new small cranes, the PSC 3216 and the PSC 4016. Manufactured in Council Bluffs, Iowa, expect these new cranes to start production in July of this year.

Over at the Truck Accessories Group (TAG) I had the opportunity to visit with just about all of their staff, including Jim Donahue, president and COO for TAG, who provided me an overview of the 40+ years of TAG's history and its goal to expand its composite product line. Shane Demitruk, product engineer for TAG provided me an in-depth review of its brand-new service body.


Today was a short day. The show floor was only open from about 9 a.m. to noon. I took a chance to visit with a few more companies before I headed to the airport. Here are a few highlights:

First, I stopped to chat with Maranda about its fully transferable service capsule. Requiring no holes drilled into a pickup truck bed, these service caps install with a clamp system. This means higher resale at the end of the truck's service life and ease in transferring the body to another vehicle. According to the company, these truck caps should last three to four truck lives. It recently delivered 400 of these service capsules to Cox Enterprises.

RSC Bio Solutions discussed its new line of Liquid Wrench products including its Penetrating Oil and its Bar & Chain Oil. Both products are biodegradable. The Penetrating Oil is used to remove old rusted bolts and nuts. The Bar & Chain oil is a "total loss product," which means all of the lubricant ends up in the environment during typical use, making the biodegradeable product a way to keep clean and go green.

Finally, truck cap manufacturer A.R.E. introduced its all-new fiberglass truck cap called the ToolMaster Series, available for all current model trucks. The cap features heavy-duty doors, two steel boxes (with 120-lb. weight capacity each), and a commercial-grade Prime Design AluRack roof rack with a ladder rack roller. Side and rear doors with aluminum inserts for privacy and security also come standard.

Congrats, you reached the end of the show with me. Thanks for staying tuned and keeping up. If you have any questions about the show, the products, or companies mentioned above, please don't hesitate to reach out. And congrats to all of the companies for the great new products, and to the NTEA for a phenomenal show. Looking forward to 2013 already!

By Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor

Lauren Fletcher has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006 and is the executive editor of Work Truck magazine. With a particular focus on educational, tips and trends pieces in the vocational truck industry, check out her Truck Chat video series or Chatty Chassis blog for more!