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The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Fleet Managers Go Hands-On With Green Vehicles

August 26, 2015, by Paul Clinton - Also by this author

Photo of Hino's 195h cabover by Kevin Haegele.
Photo of Hino's 195h cabover by Kevin Haegele.

Fleet managers drove a wide spectrum of green fleet vehicles including a diesel-electric hybrid cabover, battery-electric Class 8 rig, and plug-in hybrid SUV that's yet to reach the market at the Fleet Technology Expo's Aug. 25 ride and drive event.

The fleet event, which is hosted by Bobit Business Media, ran from Aug. 24-26 at the Long Beach Convention Center in southern California.

John King, the fleet operations manager for the City of Columbus (Ohio), was particularly intrigued by Hino's 2016 195h Class 5 cabover that's powered by a similar system found in the Toyota Prius, Hino reps said.

King has been searching for a green medium-duty box truck for his parks and recreation department that could bring tables, chairs, and other materials needed for media and community events.

"A hybrid would fill a medium-duty void," King said. "It's giving me a green option in that truck class."

Columbus has been adding mostly compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its fleet since 2007 as alt-fuel options. The fleet unit manages 6,000 total assets, including 2,500 on-road vehicles. King and his colleagues hope to add 20-30 green medium-duty trucks to their 250 medium-duty fleet.

Other trucks at the ride and drive included a Greenkraft Class 4-5 cabover that can be set up as a bi-fuel vehicle powered by propane autogas or CNG paired with a 6.0-liter gasoline engine and 6-speed transmission sourced from General Motors. California offers a $10,000 incentive to lower the truck's $43,000 asking price, said Frank Ziegler, the company's director of sales and marketing.

TransPower electrified onlookers with its fully electric Class 8 truck, and demonstrated its speedy takeoff from curbside parking at the event.

The event also featured several trucks and vans set up with alternative fuel powertrains from Ford Motor Co., XL Hybrids, and Lightning Hybrids.

Nissan and Mitsubishi represented the light-duty segment. Nissan brought its 2015 LEAF EV on the eve of the company's announcement next month about updates for the 2016 model year.

Mitsubishi brought its Euro-spec Outlander plug-in hybrid electric mid-size SUV that will be available to U.S. buyers in the spring, according to Doug Yordy, fleet sales manager.

"We've been showing it at some fleet events," Yordy said. "We've been seeing some government interest. They need to green their fleets."

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