Utility vehicles: the final frontier

Nope, you're not imagining things: that's actor William Shatner.

The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) tapped him as keynote speaker for next year's Work Truck Show, North America's largest annual gathering of Class 1 – 8 manufacturers and their customers. Shatner will explain how he's reinvented himself as an actor, author, and activist since his iconic role as Captain Kirk in the 1960s television series Star Trek.

In keeping with the theme of evolution, the show's newest Green Truck Summit partner is Calstart, a global consortium that develops energy-efficient transportation technology.

We offer the following roundup of hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles for readers looking to make operations more “sustainable.”

Near-zero emissions

By adding SCR (selective catalytic reduction) to exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), the VHD's 11-liter (325 to 405 hp; 1,250 to 1,450 lb.-ft. of torque) and 13-liter (375 to 500 hp; 1,350 to 1,750 lb.-ft. of torque) 12-speed diesel engines release 0.2 grams of nitrogen oxide (NOx) per horsepower/hour (g/hp-hr). That's 83% less than 2007 levels. BBC (bumper to back of cab) is 113.6 inches. Volvo Trucks North America Inc. www.volvotrucks.us.com.

Configure dumps, mixers, fire trucks

Built on the same platform as the T470 introduced in June, the T440's GVRW (gross vehicle rated weight) ranges from a heavy Class 7 (33,000 lbs.) to a light Class 8 (68,000 lbs.). The PACCAR PX-8 engine (260 hp to 350 hp) is standard; l 9-liter Cummins ISL engine (345 hp to 380 hp) is optional. Other features include 10-, 11-, and 13-speed manual and 5- and 6-speed automatic transmissions; 12,000- to 22,000-lb.-rated front axles; 21,000- to 26,000-lb.-rated single rear axles; and 40,000- to 46,000-lb.-rated tandem rear axles. Kenworth Truck Co. www.kenworth.com.

Class 7 utility hybrid

The four-wheel-drive WorkStar Hybrid 4x4 diesel-electric hybrid powers booms, aerial lifts, and other tools on the jobsite for up to 90 minutes while the engine's off. International Trucks. www.navistar.com.Circle 3.

Class 8 natural gas trucks

The Cummins Westport ISL G liquid- or compressed natural gas engine (your choice) that powers models 365 and 384 provides similar horsepower (320 hp) and torque (1,000 lb.-ft.) as the Cummins ISL diesel engine. Offering a 115-in. BBC (bumper to back of cab), the 365 is available in set-forward and set-back axle configurations. The heavier 384 is approved by the EPA's SmartWay program. Peterbilt Motors Co. www.peterbilt.com.Circle 4.

All-electric operation up to 30 mph

A two-mode hybrid system powered by a 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine makes the Chevrolet Silverado electric hybrid 40% more fuel-efficient in city traffic and 25% more efficient overall. EPA-estimated mileage for both two- and four-wheel-drive models is 21 mpg city and 22 on the highway with a cruising range of 500 miles. Crew cab body style is offered on both models. General Motors. www.gm.com.

Eight mid-range articulating cranes

Each 13/88 through 24/169 model can be configured with one of two arm systems: the single-link for fast grabs, and the dual-link for long reaches and lifting in high positions with demanding equipment such as fly-jibs and winches. Either way, the working area between the main boom and the jib is no less than 195 degrees so the unit lifts maximum loads in all boom positions. Lift capacities range from 1,740 lbs. to 35,405 lbs. at a radius of 14 ft. 5 in. Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc. www.imt.com.

Meets 2010 emissions requirements

Powered by an 8.9-liter Cummins West-port ISL-G engine that runs on liquid (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) in ratings up to 320 hp, the Business Class M2 112 reportedly saves $6,000 annually in fuel and operating costs compared to diesel counterparts. An M2 112 V vocational CNG truck will begin production by mid-2010. Freightliner Trucks. www.freightlinertrucks.com.

Roomy utility van

The Transit Connect has twice as much cargo space as the Chevrolet HHR (heritage high roof) and, with a 1,600-lb. pay-load, is larger than the Dodge Ram 1500 standard-cab short-box pickup truck. Plus, it has a 39-ft. curb-to-curb turning circle. The Duratec 2.0-liter, 136-hp gasoline engine draws from a 15.4-gal. fuel tank. Ford plans to introduce a 100-mile-range electric version next year. Ford Motor Co. www.commtruck.ford.com.

Heavy-duty hauler

For information on the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, see December Issue's Fleet Management column, "Right vehicle, wrong time." www.chryslergroupllc.com.

Easy-access material handler

A one-handed release lever quickly and easily drops either side of the body for quick loading and unloading. Available in steel, sizes range from 8 to 11 ft. Reading Truck Body LLC. www.readingbody.com.

Self-powered tool box

Even upfitted with a generator, compressor, and optional welder, the Powerbody removable utility body fits virtually all major-brand long- and short-bed pickup trucks. Features include an easy-access control panel in the side compartment and a slide-out parts drawer that holds up to 1,000 lbs. Fleetwest Transferable Truck Bodies. www.fleetwest.net.

Medium-duty zero-emissions truck

Powered by a 360 V electric motor with a rated power of 100 kW and 450 ft.-lb. of torque at 0 rpm, the MD is available in GVWRs (gross vehicle weight rating) of Class 4 (15,000 lbs.) to Class 6 (25,950 lbs.). Reaches speeds up to 60 mph and has an average range of 115 miles; can be charged overnight. Smaller battery packs with smaller range choices are available for the MD 60 and MD 80 models. Electric Vehicles International. www.evi-usa.com.

Web Extra

For tips on reducing stationary fuel consumption, visit here.