Heavy-duty: Booster expands mobile fueling services
Focused on providing a complete portfolio of light- and medium-duty commercial vehicles, as well as enhancing existing products, Ford used the 2020 Work Truck Show to showcase a range of new offerings.
Headlining the company’s announcements was that an all-electric Ford Transit commercial van is on its way for the 2022 model year. While full details have yet to be released, the manufacturer said the new model will be available in cargo, and cutaway and chassis cab versions in three roof heights and three body lengths.
Ford said it intends for the all-electric Transit to lead the transition to zero emissions in the commercial van segment, which it expects to grow as e-commerce and last mile delivery activity increases. The manufacturer anticipates sales of electric vehicles to expand to 8% of the U.S. market in 2025.
The all-electric Transit is part of Ford’s more than $11.5 billion planned investment in electrification through 2022. Included is the OEM’s electric vehicle-certified dealer network of more than 730 commercial vehicle centers across the U.S. and Canada.
“Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification,” said Jim Farley, chief operating officer at Ford Motor Co. “We are accelerating our plans to create solutions that help businesses, starting with our all-electric Transit and F-150.”
Ford noted that as businesses set increasingly ambitious sustainability goals, they are asking for electrified products. Beyond electric powertrains, those vehicles also need to function as part of a connected mobile business with integrated high-speed electrical architectures. As a result, technology in the all-electric Transit and other models will include an embedded FordPass Connect modem featuring a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot with connectivity for up to ten devices.
Also new for 2021 from Ford is the F-600 Super Duty chassis cab. The model, according to the OEM, delivers the capability of a Class 6 truck in a Class 5 package, giving vocational fleets that carry additional payload or mount heavier upfits a choice without needing a bigger truck.
At the same time, new options for 2022 model year F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks include a 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine, which Ford is recommending for operations with lighter duty cycles, mileage and torque requirements. For the first time as well, the medium-duty models can be spec’ed with a compressor to power air brakes, suspensions, seats and other accessories.
“We expect this new offering to be popular in several vocational segments including propane delivery, municipalities, utilities and tree service,” explained Nathan Oscarson, Ford commercial truck brand manager. “Customers have told us they’d like to take advantage of the cost savings provided by a gas truck, but also want the peace of mind provided by air brakes, which are currently available only on diesel-powered models.”
As an option for meeting alternative fuel requirements in E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis, Ford announced it is adding flex-fuel capability in both premium and economy calibrations to its 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine. The manufacturer said it expects the option, which means fleets can run on gasoline or blends of up to 85% ethanol (E85), to be a popular with state and federal operations. Also new for E-Series cutaway in 2021 is a scalloped engine access cover that provides additional legroom, something Ford said was driven by requests from the recreational vehicle industry.
In other engine news from Ford, current model year Super Duty F-450, F-550 and F-600 chassis cab, medium-duty, E-Series and F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis vehicles with the OEM’s 7.3-liter V8 gasoline engine can be fitted with a gaseous fuel prep package. The package, which includes upgraded valvetrain components to withstand higher operating temperatures and lower lubricity of gaseous fuels, allows the vehicles to be converted by a Ford qualified vehicle modifier to run on CNG or propane.
While production plans may have changed since these announcements were made in early March, Ford initially stated that fleets can order the 2021 Ford F-600 Super Duty chassis cab for delivery this summer, and that production of 2022 F-650, F-750 and E-Series models would begin in January 2021.