While much of the medium-duty market in the U.S. relies on diesel-powered trucks, gasoline engines are increasing in popularity, noted Justin Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc. “They now hold about a 40% market share; so, the development of a gas-engine option for our customers was a no-brainer,” he said.
The gasoline-powered Class 4 and Class 5 Fuso FE Series cabover trucks are powered by a GM six-liter V8 engine that has twice the displacement of the company’s diesel option. The engine will initially be available in two Class 4 models: the FE140 (14,500-lb. GVWR) and FE160 (15,995-lb. GVWR). The new Class 4 models will be on dealer lots by the middle of this year.
The company also noted that the GM V8 will soon be available in Fuso FE180 (17,995-lb. GVWR) models, making it the first Class 5 cabover with an available gasoline-fueled engine. In future models, the engine will also be equipped to use compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fuels.
In all models, the GM V8 engine provides 297 HP and 361 lb./ft. of torque. Its broad torque curve and engine management calibration, the manufacturer reported, were developed specifically to integrate into FE models using the Allison 1000 Series six-speed automatic transmission. A Fuso-exclusive option in its segment, the Allison has provisions for a broad range of aftermarket power take-offs (PTOs) to drive a wide range of vocational truck accessories.
The Allison automatic also takes advantage of the manufacturer’s Fuel Sense 2.0 transmission management software with DynActive shifting technology. Instead of shifting gears based on fixed shift points, DynActive continually refines shifts via a proprietary learning algorithm to provide a balance between performance and fuel economy for each specific duty cycle. Fuel Sense 2.0 also provides a “Neutral-at-Stop” feature that reduces fuel consumption.
To provide increased operating range, the new Fuso FE gasoline-powered models have a 40-gal. fuel tank. The trucks also feature streamlined fuel line and wiring harness routing and securement, the latter to improve serviceability while protecting sensitive fuel and wiring lines from rubbing and chafing damage. In addition, the trucks have clean frame rails that provide space for toolboxes and side-mounted vocational equipment.
In addition to the new powertrain, the FE gasoline powered trucks feature a new cab interior design. Most notably, driver seat bolstering and support have been substantially improved to provide comfort, and the seat cushion covering has been extended for durability. Also, seatbelts in the new Fuso models are now high-visibility red and instrument cluster colors have been revised to improve visibility under all lighting conditions. An LED cabin light has also been added, and storage space has been enhanced with a new driver-side overhead console, a new floor tray and a sun-visor pocket.
For aesthetics in the Fuso FE gasoline models, a new black-on-black color scheme marked by silver trim accents has been implemented throughout the cab interior, including the stereo frame, shifter panel and steering wheel emblem. All of the cab improvements will be transferred to the Fuso FE Series diesel models as well.
“We’re extremely happy to be able to offer these new gasoline-powered trucks to our customers,” Palmer said, “and we’re pleased to note that these trucks will be the first Fusos to be assembled in the United States by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.
“We’re also proud of the fact that adding our new gasoline engine line of trucks to our existing diesel FEs and eCanter all-electric models means our dealers can offer fleet customers a broader range of powertrain choices,” Palmer continued. “No other truck manufacturer, in any GVWR class, currently offers all three of these powertrain options. With this addition to our product line, we look forward to a very successful year in the growing medium-duty market.”