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Tesla Semi Tractor… Fully-loaded 0-60 in 20 seconds

Trucks November 18, 2017

Tesla Semi Tractor... Fully-loaded 0-60 in 20 seconds

Elon Musk has now revealed the new Tesla semi truck, a tractor that’s more aerodynamic, more environmentally friendly, and faster than any semi truck ever built, showing graphs that made regular tractors appear to be barely moving compared with the fast-accelerating Tesla option. Truckers, can you imagine a fully weighted 0-60 in 20 seconds?

Of course, the first thing people wanted to know was how expensive it would be — how could semi truck owner/operators and companies purchase such a truck, given Tesla’s high price tags? While the final cost of the vehicle is unknown as of yet, Musk gave out an estimate that because of the lower costs associated with owning one of the semis, owners could make back what they paid in two years or less.

The loss of the engine is the truck’s gain, as it allows the vehicle to be roomier. It is also upgraded with the Tesla AutoPilot feature, with two screens on each side of the driver (the driver will be seated in the middle of the truck as opposed to the left side). With the ability to go from 0-60 in five seconds as an empty truck, and 0-60 in twenty seconds with a full load, the semi’s appearance and performance put it squarely in the future of trucking.

While truckers still hold some reservations (the biggest being that the truck can travel for 500 miles without needing a recharge while diesel-fueled vehicles can go for much longer and take a shorter time to fuel), Musk continues explore how best to serve the trucking industry in ways that will make it more efficient and better for the environment. If he manages to solve the fueling issue, we might well be on our way to highways full of responsibly fueled semi trucks. Another issue is the lack of a sleeping area, but since this is the first step in introducing the world to an electric semi, it is assumed that there will be arrangements and redesigns made in the future.

With the drive system guaranteed for a million miles and future upgrades in the works, Tesla might just have created a vehicle that will compete with the likes of Peterbilt and Kenworth. Though the semi will not be available until 2019, there are already large companies like JB Hunt, Loblaw and Wal-Mart that have signed on to try out a limited number of these trucks.

Musk also showed the updated Tesla Roadster, which can go from 0-60 in under two seconds, which gives it the distinction of being the only production car ever made to accelerate at that speed. It’s to be expected that Musk and Tesla would want to improve on the sports car — there are plenty of people with enough money to buy these beautiful, environmentally friendly vehicles to make it profitable. What was unexpected about the night was that this was not the only announcement made about a new Tesla vehicle.

Tesla already has orders for at least 45 vehicles, some that will be put to use in Canada and others that will be driven in the United States. Whether they will continue to be sold and used, and if they will be sent elsewhere remains to be seen, but Musk’s confidence in the product and the innovations used seem to have inspired a new wave of exploration into environmentally conscious products.

12209 total views, 108 today

Kenworth W900 – ‘Worth’ Its Weight

Trucks November 9, 2017

Kenworth W900

I wrote about the Kenworth corporation and their K-series a few months ago, but this time around I’m going to talk about the W900, a model so popular that it is still being produced despite its classic design.

The Kenworth W900 is produced in North America and Australia, and has been on the market since 1961. It’s a Class 8 truck along the lines of the Peterbilt 379, with a 180-600 engine available from Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, or PACCAR, in a variety of sizes ranging from 9 to 16 liters. There are three transmissions options, all automatic: the 10-speed, 13-speed, or 18-speed. The wheelbase averages around 285 inches. There are several sleeper options available for the W900, ranging from a 38” Aerocab Flattop Sleeper to an 86” Studio Sleeper, making this a convenient way to watch a budget or upgrade to something a bit fancier.

While the W900 (The “W” stands for Worthington) has undergone major updates through every decade, it’s still the same quality truck underneath. There are a few versions of the vehicle, including the W900L (The “Long” version), and the “V.I.T.” (Very Important Trucker), which was introduced during the American Centennial. The V.I.T. came with double beds and a refrigerator, and these options began to be included in later versions of the W900 as people began to want more extras for traveling longer distances.

The W900L is one of Kenworth’s top sellers, especially for owner-operators. It was at first intended as a special edition version of the W900, which had made an appearance in the James Bond Film “License To Kill”. However, due to its popularity, it became a regular option rather than merely a short-run special edition. The “Long” version has a 10” longer BBC for a total of 130 inches. It officially became a regular sale item in 1989.

For the W900’s 25th birthday, an ICON900 was released, complete with its own special badge and almost all the brightwork or chrome options available. In the late 80’s, the T600 was created as a more aerodynamic cousin of sorts to the W900, but the W900 continued to be so popular that it was never retired. There are also two versions of the original W900, the W900A and the W900B, the biggest difference between them being one as round headlights (the W900A), and one has square headlights (W900B). The round headlights, of course, became more popular as time went on, but the early W900B could still be ordered with the specification of round headlights.

As the W-series waned (there were buses similar in appearance to the K-series, as well as other interurban vehicles like mass transit buses), the W900 continued to go strong, its quality, durability, and comfort popular with drivers nationwide. Showing no signs of stopping, this truck looks like it will be around for a very, very long time. With their focus on special orders (like fleet of trucks for the Great Northern Railway) and popularity with small businesses, they have a good grasp of what the market wants, and the W900 provides.

809 total views, 3 today

Supertrucks

Trucks November 7, 2017

Supertrucks

What comes to mind when you hear the words “Super Truck”? Do you picture a Superman-esque cape flying behind a speeding pickup, or a Batman-like cowl draped around a truck slowly, quietly moving through the city? While super trucks don’t really wear capes, nor are they used for search and rescue missions, they are bigger, more powerful, and able to take more wear and tear than the regular truck.

Super trucks are typically commercial trucks, used in a myriad of ways that utilize their heavy-duty status. There are several companies that manufacture these big guys, including, Nissan, Denby, Daewoo, Samsung, and Bering HDMX, and some make multiple versions of the trucks to enable clients to choose what works best for them, whether they want an 8-ton truck or a 25-ton cargo truck, an 8-ton or 24-ton dump truck, or a mixer or tractor.

Hyundai’s super truck is just such a product, a line of vehicles rather than one particular model. They’re usually rear-wheel drive, with a manual or automatic transmission, and are capable of hauling up to 25 tons. They’re used for all sorts of commercial work, and are competitive with other brands such as Samsung and Daewoo. They’re available in North America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Nissan’s Diesel Big Thumb was popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s, competing with such vehicles as the Hino Profia, the Isuzu Giga, and the Mitsubishi Fuso Super Great, which were also made available in Australia and New Zealand. After the Big Thumb retired, the Nissan Diesel Quon took over.

Hyundai’s New Power Truck became available in 2004, again with a variety of options, including different transmission packages, engine options, and cargo availabilities. Whether buyers wanted a truck to haul cargo, dump, mix concrete, or work as a tractor, Hyundai provided an array of possibilities with four or more choices in each category.

The Denby Eco-Link, another super truck, hails from the UK and is designated as a super lorry, and although it has been tested for quite some time, is still the subject of much debate because of its size and weight. Embroiled in a legal battle since 2004, it is not legal to be sold in the UK, although a loophole was found that allowed it to be tested on public roads. It remains to be seen whether the Denby Eco-Link, a truck that was built to answer the need for an environmentally friendly, productive, safe cargo vehicle, will at some point in the future be able to service the UK. It is, however, legal in the Netherlands.

If you are not familiar with super trucks, they are worth looking into and I recommend learning more about them. They are an interesting group of vehicles, and without recognition of all they’re capable of, they are sometimes looked over for flashier models. Without them we would not be able to keep large areas clean, we could not put down new roads, and we would be unable to haul cargo over long distances. Without them, commerce would be nigh impossible. So when you see a super truck next, be sure and notice just how much they’re capable of — they’re pretty heroic in their own right.

51 total views, 2 today

Scania’s Premier Class 8 Trucks

Trucks November 3, 2017

Scania's Premier Class 8 Trucks

Over 100 years ago, two companies called Vabis and Scania joined forces to become a European powerhouse, delivering trucks, special vehicles, and buses to Europe. With production facilities in South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and over 40,000 employees, Scania AB is widely recognized as the premier European distributor of class 8 vehicles.

What began as two separate companies (one was involved in railroads while the other was in the bicycle industry) merged into one in 1911, and quickly became involved in the luxury car business, including a 1920 model that included a top hat holder. Sports cars were also a popular project, though as interest waned, the company feared they were on the brink of disaster.

During the First World War, Scania AB became focused on providing the Swedish Army with vehicles, revamping its facilities in order to do so. This led to the decision to solely produce large vehicles, which almost caused the disaster they had so feared previously. With some help from a banking family and a subsidiary in Denmark, however, Scania AB began to rise.

The Second World War provided another opportunity for the production of military vehicles, but after the war was over, Scania was able to hold on to their experience without losing finances. They instead became competitive with Volvo, branching out into jeeps and trucks. Exporting became a more serious business at this juncture, about half of Scania’s sales.

Throughout the years, Scania has been sought after by several other companies, including Volvo and MAN, but Volkswagen was the eventual winner, holding 100% of the company’s shares by 2015. In September 2017, Scania was fined over 800 million euros for participating in fixing prices with other members of the automotive industry (including Volvo/Renault, Daimler, MAN, DAF and Iveco) for the last 14 years.

Despite this scandal, Scania’s long history stands in good stead, and it continues to produce and sell trucks, special vehicles, and buses commercially. Their line of trucks include the P-Series (construction, distribution, and transportation uses), the G-Series (construction and long haul applications), the R-Series (Which won both the 2005 and 2010 International Truck of the Year award and is available for long haul use), and the S-Series (which is notable for being the highest cab ever constructed by the company).

Chassis production is also a large part of Scania’s work, mostly for coaches and buses used in cities, though there are complete buses put together for use in Scandinavia, including the Citywide, Interlink, Metrolink, OmniExpress, and Touring buses. Scania also produces engines for marine use as well as industrial jobs, such as moving large amounts of dirt and agricultural tasks. Branching out from engines, chassis, buses, trucks, and coaches, Scania has also produced a line of clothing specifically for truckers who utilize their vehicles, called Scania Truck Gear.

If you’re ever in Sweden, you can see some of the Scania vehicles in the Marcus Wallenberg-hallen. Scania also has a concept car named the Scania Torped, which sports an environmentally-friendly eco-diesel V8 engine. Designed by Louise Temin, the Torped is a two-seat roadster with some similarities to the Dodge Viper. Whether Scania decides to explore more car production in the future, it will most likely continue to largely manufacture class 8 vehicles that will be used worldwide.

5558 total views, 6 today

Chevrolet Kodiak – Medium Duty Muscle

Trucks November 3, 2017

Chevrolet Kodiak - Medium Duty Muscle

Is there another vehicle that can go from blue-collar work to white-collar work and maintain its credibility as a working vehicle? Maybe, maybe not. But the Chevrolet Kodiak has and will continue to serve in multiple capacities as a medium duty truck, whether it’s used as a crew transport, a school bus, or carrying the President of the United States.

The Cadillac One, an armored vehicle which carried President Barack Obama to and from events starting in 2009, is not strictly a Cadillac. A combination of several vehicles (the exact plans of which are classified information), the Cadillac One rests on a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis, which was then covered by a Cadillac Escalade and other various and sundry vehicle parts.

Carrying the President of the United States is an enormous responsibility, as is another of the Chevrolet Kodiak’s jobs, as a schoolbus. Notably, the Chevrolet Kodiak was one of the last few medium-duty trucks to retain a gasoline engine. While the schoolbus venture was ended in 2002, the Chevrolet Kodiak became a popular choice for another industry as a conversion pick-up, the Ultimate Class IV TopKick Pickup, which was chosen to star in a film, as Ironhide’s alternate mode in the first three films in the Transformers franchise.

The Chevrolet Kodiak, also known as the GMC TopKick, arrived on the scene in 1980 as a front-engine, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, medium duty truck. It was manufactured in Canada (Quebec), the U.S. (Michigan and Wisconsin), Mexico (Toluca), Colombia (Bogota), Venezuela (Tejerias), and Brazil (Sao Jose dos Campos). They were sold primarily as cargo haulers, dump trucks, and work trucks, all of which required a large towing capacity as well as medium duty torque.

Available as a two-door or a four-door, the first generation of the Chevrolet Kodiak had a mid-range diesel engine, a larger hood than the C/K, a heavier GVWR, and a larger grille. Though it was not as large as the Chevrolet Bruin/GMC Brigadier, it still managed to be put in the 5-7 class. Like its counterparts the Bison and Bruin, the Chevrolet Kodiak was named after a large beast (a bear in this case), and given a military slang nickname (the Topkick, like the Brigadier). It was available as a gasoline or diesel vehicle.

In 2003, a variant of the Chevrolet Kodiak was sold primarily as a vocational truck under the Isuzu brand. The Isuzu H-Series, as it was called, came equipped with a 7.8L inline-six, was was largely used outside of North America. It should be noted that this was the first conventional vehicle to be sold by Isuzu.

Though there was talk in 2007 of Navistar International taking over the production of the Chevrolet Kodiak, an agreement was never reached and instead the vehicle was discontinued in 2009, after almost 30 years on the road. However, this year, it was revealed that the Kodiak (under the new name of the Silverado 4500 and 5500) will re-enter the workforce in 2018, after nearly 10 years in retirement. They will all come equipped with diesel engines and Allison transmissions. We’re glad to have you back, Kodiak.

16490 total views, 20 today

Supertrucks, American Style

Trucks October 17, 2017

Supertrucks, American Style

What do the Chevrolet Kodiack/GMC Topkick, the Ford E-Series and F-Series, the GMC 4500 and 5500 and the Ram 4500 and 5500 all have in common? They’re super trucks — a range of medium-duty trucks that comprise classes 4-6 of the US GWVR.

GWVR stands for Gross Weight Vehicle Rating and is a scale of 1-8. The duty rating is provided by the Department of Transportations Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA. As the size of trucks have increased, these ratings are less accurate and used more as comparison numbers. In Canada and UK, however, other ratings systems are used in various provinces to provide more accuracy.

While there are numerous other super trucks around the world, this article will focus on the American versions and what each of them has to offer the North American market. There are specific models, such as the Ford F-650, and then there are lines of trucks, such as the Chevrolet Kodiak/GMC Topkick.

The Ford E-Series are full-size vans that have been around for over five decades. They’re second in popularity with Ford’s customers only to the Ford F-Series. The E-Series, or “Econline” was retired in 2014, but had the distinction of being the best-selling full-size van for over thirty years. A three-door van (with a few other options like a two-door truck or 4-door van) with a V8 engine and automatic transmission, the E-Series vehicle was the first full-size van to offer a driver’s side airbag.

The Ford F-Series, also known as the “Super Duty” line of vehicles, is a two-door or four-door truck with manual or automatic transmission and a gas or diesel engine. It’s still in production today, with manufacturing plants in Kentucky and Ohio. The F-Series is notable for its use as an armored car such as the Conquest Knight IV and the Didgori-2. The armored car versions are used by military and police as well as civilians.

Chevrolet and GMC have also produced their own medium-duty trucks (including the GMC 4500 and 5500) under the Kodiak/Topkick name. They were available as pickups, dump trucks, cargo haulers, and the like, for a range of businesses. Other companies provided conversion packages to amp up the already massive truck.

The Ram 4500 and 5500 are similar, a range of full-size trucks that has been available since the early 1980’s. They’re still in production in the U.S. and Mexico, available as a front-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle. The Ram series has been awarded the Truck of the Year award from Motor Trends for five years between 1994 and 2014.

In 2014, super trucks also began racing street circuits as part of the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road presented by Traxxas started by NASCAR’s Robbie Gordon. All trucks must be fitted with Toyo Tires (approved by the Department of Transportation). While they are allowed to make small changes to the vehicles, they are made identical so as to prevent teams from being able to spend more money than their counterparts. If you’re interested in seeing the super trucks in action, you can watch clips on YouTube or watch events on NBC.

13 total views, 2 today

Custom Semi Interiors

Trucks October 9, 2017

Custom Semi Interiors

When I was little, we traveled a lot, mostly by car. We drove from South Carolina, Tennessee, or North Carolina to Wyoming and California and then back again. I loved sitting in the car and watching all the others pass by. While my parents weren’t fond of semis (especially with kids in the car), I always wondered about them. They fascinated me. How did they travel such long distances by themselves? Where did they sleep? What did the inside of the truck look like?

I’m sure the quality and comfort of semi interiors have improved since I was a child (nearly twenty years ago now), and looking at pictures online it looks like if you have the money, you can have literally anything installed, including wood floors and a fireplace. If you comb through Pinterest, the results are astounding. Semi interiors have become way more personalized, especially for owner-operators.

After just one page of Google results you can find several small businesses that provide interior services, whether it’s installing accessories or putting in an entire floor plan. You can find them all over the U.S., under such names as 4 State Trucks, Outlaw Customs, TrukGuts, and Portage Trim. Whether you want to upgrade your factory interior, or you want to trick out your show truck, Portage Trim has the capability to transform your semi-interior into something better. They’ve done interior work for television as well as famous show trucks.

You can get just about anything made custom to suit your needs and wants, from leather steering wheel covers, to chrome accents, to custom upholstery, to personalized logos, to additions to your sleeper, anything you can think of, these small businesses either have it or can make it to fit your specifications.

I have been seeing a lot of upholstery being re-done, either with patterns, leather, or racing gear. Neutrals with a pop of bold look great in an interior (one site showcased an interior of lime green and off-white), and can modernize an older rig. Just like in a house, you can complement the new upholstery with door handles, knobs, and floor mats.

Whether you’ve been needing an upgrade for a while, or you’ve been eyeing some pretty nice accessories, it’s always wise to plan and budget for these purchases, as they will not come cheap if they are good quality. You’ll need to find a business in or near your area or on your route and contact them to make arrangements. If you’re looking at an extensive overhaul, you might need to consider other transportation while you wait.

Whether you drive a rig for work, attend shows, or travel for the pleasure of it, there will always be upkeep and upgrades to make on your vehicle. Knowing what you want and when you would like it done and how much you can afford to pay for said upgrades will allow you to plan ahead and make arrangements so that the process is as stress-free as possible.

And if you don’t own your rig, there are still ways to personalize it without breaking the bank or going against company policy — a nice cushion, a warm blanket draped over the seat, and a few new, hardy floor mats does wonders.

10 total views, 0 today

Ford F-650: Big and Going Strong

Trucks October 8, 2017

Ford F-650: Big and Going Strong

When you think of Ford trucks, you probably think of the Ford F-150 or F-250, the pickup trucks driven by sportsmen, ranchers, and suburbanites who wished they lived in the country. We had an F-150 when I was growing up, big enough to stow all our instruments in the back (we had the additional cover so the harp, violins, and cello wouldn’t be out in the weather) along with our camping gear. We also spent plenty of time driving cross-country, moving from one state to the next with the back of the pickup full of our things.

However, people with small businesses and counties in rough terrain need something a little bigger. A little tougher. So Ford introduced us to the F-650 in 2000, and and it has been going strong ever since. The class 6, 7, and now 8 vehicle is sold to construction and towing businesses primarily, in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.

The F-650 is available as diesel or gasoline fueled, with a six-speed automatic (diesel) or a five to seven speed manual (gasoline), though there is an option to convert to a propane or condensed natural gas engine should the business or driver wish to make the change. The truck is sold as a 2-door, 2 + 2, or 4-door vehicle, with a wheelbase of 134-281 inches. The second generation of the F-650, which became available in 2014, comes with a larger grille and headlights, leftovers from the remains of the Econoline van line.

What was once a join venture between Ford and Navistar International (their joint operation was called the Blue Diamond Truck Company, LLC) with a plant in Mexico became a Ford project completely in 2014, after Econoline production ended. A new plant was opened up in Ohio to continue making the F-650, and by the looks of things it isn’t going anywhere soon, especially since it has been Ford’s best-selling truck for forty years (and best-selling vehicle overall for the last thirty-five years).

An American classic, the Ford F-650 pairs well with another American classic, the great Shaquille O’Neal, who bought a customized F-650 to accommodate his tall frame, happily took a photo of himself and posted it on Twitter, thanking Ford for making supersized trucks that he could actually fit in and drive. His version of the F-650 includes a leather interior, heated seats, and many other extras that would only have been included in a prime F-250. There are apparently others who have purchased such “supertrucks”, but most are relegated to a waiting list as each truck has to be built to special specifications. This does not deter people, as the thirst for larger vehicles remains steady, especially as people move to more rural areas, take up hobbies like off-roading, and start new jobs like ranching, or start their own companies.

With over thirty-five million F-series trucks sold (about one a minute since 2015), Ford has a winner and will keep providing its customers with quality truck options for the foreseeable future. Whether you own your own towing company, or construction company, whether you own a moving or storage business, and you need a flatbed, a tow truck, or a dump truck, if you’re in the market for a vehicle that will carry whatever load you have, or just a supertruck that will fit you and the family and a bunch of gear for hiking, hunting, camping, and fishing, you might want to consider the Ford F-650.

79 total views, 1 today

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  • Chevrolet Kodiak - Medium Duty Muscle

    Chevrolet Kodiak - Medium Duty Muscle

    by on November 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Is there another vehicle that can go from blue-collar work to white-collar work and maintain its credibility as a working vehicle? Maybe, maybe not. But the Chevrolet Kodiak has and will continue to serve in multiple capacities as a medium duty truck, whether it’s used as a crew transport, a school bus, or carrying the […]

  • Tesla Semi Tractor... Fully-loaded 0-60 in 20 seconds

    Tesla Semi Tractor... Fully-loaded 0-60 in 20 seconds

    by on November 18, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Elon Musk has now revealed the new Tesla semi truck, a tractor that’s more aerodynamic, more environmentally friendly, and faster than any semi truck ever built, showing graphs that made regular tractors appear to be barely moving compared with the fast-accelerating Tesla option. Truckers, can you imagine a fully weighted 0-60 in 20 seconds? Of […]

  • Harley Davidson Limo Hybrid

    by on August 26, 2017 - 0 Comments

    If there were two more disaparate vehicles, we haven’t seen them. The limousine, used for fancy occasions and even fancier lifeystles, with plenty of luxuries for the uber-wealthy, and the crazy motorcycle known the world over for being the transportation chosen by certain motorcycle clubs – and … it must have been a one night […]

  • Haulmark RVs, a Luxury RV that Does Everything

    Haulmark RVs, a Luxury RV that Does Everything

    by on November 6, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whether you’re looking for a motorhome, a stacker, or trailer, or even all three, it can be difficult to find one of each. Some companies only make motorhomes, others only make stackers and trailers, and some only make trailers and motorhomes. Haulmark not only has motorhomes, but motor garages (for your racing vehicles) and a […]

  • Scania's Premier Class 8 Trucks

    Scania's Premier Class 8 Trucks

    by on November 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Over 100 years ago, two companies called Vabis and Scania joined forces to become a European powerhouse, delivering trucks, special vehicles, and buses to Europe. With production facilities in South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe, and over 40,000 employees, Scania AB is widely recognized as the premier European distributor of class 8 vehicles. What began […]