FedEx hybrids surpass 2 million miles

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Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire and Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. announced price increases on the companies’ Bridgestone and Firestone brand tire lines, as well as all associate brand tires. The announced increases – up to 10 percent on passenger and light truck, truck and bus, and agricultural and off-the-road tires – affect the replacement, original equipment and export channels. Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions also announced price increases in the United States of up to 5 percent for tread rubber products to its Bridgestone Bandag franchised dealers; no increase is being taken for tread rubber products in Canada.

Webb Wheel Products says it moved to a monthly pricing schedule for all product lines to mitigate the risks associated with skyrocketing, fluctuating global metals prices.

Chevron says its Delo 400 LE SAE 10W-30 multigrade diesel oil is the second member of the Delo family to meet the API CJ-4 engine oil specification. Delo 400 LE SAE 15W-40, which also meets API CJ-4, was introduced in October 2006.

American Electric Power, a large U.S. electric utility, ordered its largest number of hybrid trucks to date – 18 International DuraStar Hybrid diesels. The order brings the total number of hybrid utility trucks in AEP’s fleet to 22.

Michelin Americas Truck Tires and Love’s Travel Stops signed a cooperative agreement under which Love’s will carry Michelin truck tires and related products. As part of the deal, the truck stop chain also will offer tire and emergency road service at many of its locations.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership, which previously approved using the company’s Fuel Max linehaul tires on SmartWay tractors and trailers.

Daimler Trucks North America selected PPG Industries as its OEM and aftermarket paint supplier for the Sterling Truck Corp. manufacturing facility in St. Thomas, Ontario. Sterling already uses PPG’s standard black chassis topcoat; PPG’s Delfleet topcoat cab colors and chassis special colors will be added in early 2008.

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RigMaster Power Corp. relaunched its website,, with new content and tools for both drivers and fleets. Enhancements include an easy-to-use fuel savings analysis, links to government and industry websites, and access to product support material.

Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va., won a Gold Medal and Governor’s Flag, the state’s highest environmental award, for employing advanced technology to recycle and reuse 70 percent of the wastewater generated by the plant’s production activities.

Hino Trucks says it recorded a record month in March by attaining retail sales of 900 units. For its fiscal year ended March 31, the company says it had retail sales of 5,350 trucks, off 960 units from the previous year.

FedEx Corp. said that its existing hybrid-electric truck fleet reached more than 2 million miles of revenue service. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company says it also is expanding its commitment to clean-vehicle technology by placing an additional 75 hybrid vehicles into service in the United States and Europe. FedEx says it now will operate more than 170 hybrid vehicles around the globe, including one of the largest fleet of commercial hybrid trucks in North America, which comprise nearly one-third of the deployed North American hybrid market. The company – which works with manufacturers Eaton Corp., Isuzu and Iveco – also will purchase 20 vehicles that use an Azure Dynamics hybrid system and Ford gasoline engine and chassis.

“Two million miles of FedEx service is a significant milestone for hybrid vehicles,” says Mitch Jackson, director of environmental affairs and sustainability for FedEx Corp. “FedEx continues to work to advance clean truck technology. We now need the collective leadership of business, nonprofits and government to make cleaner delivery vehicle technology widely available. It’s time for the truck manufacturing industry to create its version of the Prius – clean, affordable and widely available for truck fleets.”

FedEx says the developments are the latest steps in its ongoing efforts with the Environmental Defense Fund to support the clean-technology truck market, which has grown to include more than 30 fleets in North America.

DDC offers fuel economy upgrades
Detroit Diesel Corp. announced a free new software release designed for customers to enhance the fuel economy of Environmental Protection Agency 2007-compliant Series 60 engines. These improvements, according to Detroit Diesel engineers, will increase fuel economy by up to 2.5 percent.

“Extensive testing of the Series 60 has shown our particulate filter regeneration process is more effective than originally anticipated,” says David Siler, director of marketing for Redford, Mich.-based Detroit Diesel. “The fact that the filters are staying clean, combined with some advancements in the regeneration software, allow us to enhance the regeneration process to improve the fuel efficiency for the engines.”

In addition to regeneration cycle modifications, Detroit Diesel also announced nocharge features that can enhance the vehicle’s shifting and cruise control operations. “Progressive shifting, which limits engine speed during upshifting, can add additional savings in fuel consumption,” Siler says. “Optimizing engine speed while in cruise control can further enhance savings.”

Fleet owners and owner-operators can take advantage of the modifications by scheduling a visit to any Detroit Diesel dealer or distributor to have their EPA ’07 Series 60 engine reflashed at no cost beginning July 1. Any EPA ’07 Series 60 produced after July 1 will be programmed automatically for the modified regeneration cycle, the company says.

Navistar to offer APUs, fuel-conscious specs
To help new truck buyers maximize fuel efficiency, Navistar International will offer Maxxpower auxiliary power units and five Maxximum MPG spec packages as options, the Warrenville, Ill.-based company announced.

Available this fall, the diesel-powered Maxxpower APU will have an estimated base cost of $8,500, though the California-compliant version will cost $300 to $400 more because of an add-on diesel particulate filter. The APU is a “comprehensive solution,” says Steve Gilligan, truck group assistant general manager.

The Maxximum MPG spec packages – tailored to Maxxforce, Caterpillar and Cummins engine configurations – are designed to maximize fuel efficiency in five areas: gearing, transmission, low-rolling-resistance tires, synthetic lubricants and rear-axle gear ratios. Any new truck purchase that includes one of the packages will be discounted $1,000.

Navistar International’s goal is to provide the most fuel-efficient options possible, says Tom Baughman, truck group vice president and general manager.

Mack develops low-NOx solution for CARB rules
Mack announced that its MP7 and MP8 engines have been certified to meet California’s 2008 criteria to limit emissions of nitrogen oxides while idling. This means Mack customers with compliant engines will not have to shut down their engines after five minutes of idling as otherwise required by California regulations that took effect earlier this year.

The California Air Resources Board requires trucks to stop idling after no more than five minutes, under most circumstances. However, trucks with engines that emit 30 grams or less per hour of NOx are not required to shut down and can continue to idle. Several other states intend to pursue adoption of California’s idle regulations in the near future.

Mack says customers now have the option to specify “Idle Emission Certification – CARB 08” for MP Series engines built after Jan. 1; this feature means the truck’s engine has been certified to meet the 30 gram/hour NOx limit. A CARB-required decal affixed to its hood identifies the truck as meeting the regulation. Mack says the new MP10 engine also will be able to meet this standard when it goes into production later this year; customers can order this feature from their dealers now.

“This feature gives Mack drivers the ability to idle their engines as needed, while still emitting extremely low levels of NOx,” says David McKenna, powertrain sales and marketing manager for Lehigh Valley, Pa.-based Mack.

Haldex actuators a Great Dane choice
Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems – a Kansas City, Mo.-based manufacturer and distributor of heavy-duty air brake and suspension control system components – announced that Great Dane Trailers selected its Gold Seal actuators as a standard product offering on its trailers.

Haldex says its Gold Seal actuators assure lower operating cost and deliver long-lasting durability, performance and reliability for outstanding value, mile after trouble-free mile. The company says it engineers all of the materials to strict standards utilizing specially designed components, including a patented power spring that maximizes output force and extends the life of the actuator.
-Todd Dills