I’d forgotten just how long a truck show takes to “digest”, even a virtual one. The American grand daddy of truck shows is held in Louisville every march and it’s literally millions of square feet of trucks and anything related. I’d make it if work allowed, which tended to be about once a decade. Back in the 90s I made the pilgrimage and was driving home, got sleepy around 9 or so in northwest Indiana, only to find they’d had an ice storm and the power line workers had filled all the motels. So next rest area I opened up hotel VW, folded down the Golf’s back seat, and unfurled the air mattress and sleeping bag that is standard winter carry for Minnesotans. Nothin’ else to do as Hotel VW has no cable, so started reading through the usual pile of brochures I’d collected in these pre-HTML days. Didn’t get to sleep ’til midnight and barely made a dent in that pile of brochures. As I’m now finding out, even a “bite sized” show like Work Truck in virtual form takes a while to digest, so here’s the rest of my take on the rest of Work Truck Show 2021:

Ford got a little more specific, the F600 belatedly gets a diesel option, probably because an air compressor for the 7.3 liter gas (hog) isn’t available yet. That fugitive from the last millennium, the E-series, is still being tweaked. More details on the E-Transit: 67 KWH battery capacity, 200 KW motor, +600 pounds weight over IC engine version, 33-3800 pounds payload.

Freightliner showed why they’re having Ford’s lunch, opening with a background pix of an M2 Hi-Rail truck. Econic low cabover is a world truck targeted at refuse/recycling with high or low roof, left right or both drive, and all round air suspension that enables standard axles scales. If the price is competitive, they’ll own this market! The M2 gets some tweaks, but the bigger news is Freightliner is giving techs more access to program their trucks for upfits. For the electric(?) future Freightliner showed an eCascadia conventional tractor with 300 mile range and an eM2 conventional straight truck with 250 mile range with the biggest 475 KW of battery packs. For any big truck e-rodders, Freightliner is offering up to two 135KW motors per axle, and 6x4s will be available… That’s a few KW shy of Scania’s top V8’s rating, would make an interesting drag race…

Kenworth predicted electrics will eventually get 25% market share, they’re developing electric versions of several models for production in 2023 like K270e and K370e class 6 and 7 cabovers with 100-200 mile range. The T680e Conventional class 8 will have 150 mile range, and all have regenerative braking. The 6×4 hydrogen powered tractor KW is developing with Toyota will have a 300 mile range after a 15 minute refill.

Mack presented their LR low cabover electric with refreshing honesty- Price will be about 3x that of IC, and heat rejection is so high that the liquid cooling system uses the same radiator as the IC version! 334 KW motors with 400 KW peak power, 264 KW battery capacity and recharges in 90 minutes if you’ve got 150 KW available…

Hinos class 6, 7, and 8 conventional have been MIA and a new factory quiet as they tried to get their big diesel past EPA’s finicky certification. Once again, Cummins to the rescue with their B and L series diesels becoming standard and only power until Hino’s electrics become available. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the reliability of Hino trucks, they’ll now be available with 6×4 drive and heavy front axles, and the L series can produce up to near 400 HP- If these trucks are attractively priced and Hino can supply them, they’re going to take market share.

Thats all folks!

I want to thank the Work Truck Show and it’s parent the National Truck Equipment Association and all the makers for persevering through this pandemic and bring us another great show, even though it was confined to our monitors. Hope to make it next year to take advantage of the ride and drive- I want to drive some electric trucks!