WheelTime talks dual-fuel, natural gas transition at TMC

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Updated Mar 13, 2014
The engine used in CCJ’s test drive was a 1996 model Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine that retrofitted with a natural gas system that allows the engine to burn both diesel and natural gas.

WheelTime held a press conference Sunday before the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting in Nashville to update the industry on its wide array of service products.

The company offered updates on its business relationship with American Power Group (APG) in promoting its dual-fuel engine technology, its new fleet services program and its usage of Cojali USA’s Jaltest Diagnostic tool.

Now in its tenth year in business, WheelTime continues to strive for top-flight customer service and maximize uptime, says Mike Delaney, president at CEO.

He says the company’s fleet services offering is an excellent example of that effort.

“When we launched [fleet services] last year, our goal was to be able to offer a total spectrum of preventive and repair services necessary to lower total costs,” says Delaney. “Today, WheelTime Fleet Services gives smaller fleets access to data, information and analytics never seen before.

“Results show the benefits of preventive maintenance and detailed reporting, which allows fleets to take a more active role in making sure their vehicles don’t go down.”

Driven by WheelTime’s commitment to a two-hour initial diagnosis, service quality and consistency across its network, WheelTime’s members invested more than $13 million into information technology, technician training and program development to take total vehicle care to new levels.

As a result, the company says its fleet services program is showing fleets significant increases in vehicle productivity, reduced fleet downtime and decreased costs in both planned and unplanned repairs.

And because the program is nationwide, customers can rely on WheelTime’s service no matter where their truck happens to need maintenance, says Joe Monteleone, WheelTime director of fleet services.

WheelTime also released an update on its independent diagnostic tool agreement with Cojali USA and its Jaltest multi-brand tool.

“Beginning in 2010 when WheelTime expanded its focus from primarily engine and transmission work to total truck care, we knew that as an all-makes repair network, we also had to meet our quality standards faster and more consistently.  To stay ahead of the industry we’d need new tools, training and service processes,” says Delaney.

WheelTime discovered the Jaltest program in 2011 and implemented it throughout its nationwide service network in 2013.

“The Jaltest diagnostic tool is the only tool currently in the North American market that delivers information on many vehicle makes and all components at once, making ‘bumper to bumper’ work on all types of vehicles possible – no matter the make or model,” says Delaney. “This exceptional tool is making it easier for WheelTime to meet the needs of its customer in new and extraordinary ways – and saving them a lot of time and money.”

The Cojali Jaltest multibrand diagnostic tool allows WheelTime to standardize its work scope and quality across the network, the company says. Developed as a web services app, the tool centrally monitors computers and software license levels at every shop to help manage the upgrades to make sure everyone has the latest capabilities, which are updated three times per year, the company says.

WheelTime also highlighted the next step in its collaboration with APG. Delaney says the network plans to expand the boundaries of miles per gallon by offering a network-wide commitment to APG’s current dual-fuel technology.

“Transition to dedicated natural gas vehicles is easier if your fuel consumption is very high, your routing is predictable and the availability of natural gas is convenient, but you also have to be able to afford the initial capital investment, and cover the upfront and increased maintenance costs,” says Delaney.

Speaking about APG’s dual-fuel options, Delaney adds, “Dual-fuel offers a great alternative to natural gas. by changing the way we think about fuel, and by combining new, but readily available with route planning, other technologies, driver training and incentives, we think we can take the fuel savings much higher.”

WheelTime trained technicians at 43 of its locations in 2013 and hopes to continue growing at a rapid rate in 2014. And Delaney says each product the company is working on is designed to help benefit its end users and minimize downtime.

“Efficiency and speed, guided by advanced systems and administered by a high quality truck and coach service network, offer breakthrough capabilities for customers to reduce costs, increase control and drive uptime,” he says. “Our overall goal at WheelTime remains, as the name implies, to reduce time in the shop and create more time at the wheel for every customer.”