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Credit: Modec

The Modec Zero Emission Vehicle can haul a 4400-pound load at highway speeds for up to 100 miles before recharging.
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Credit: mobileDUZ

The Ultimate Field Office converts the space behind the front seats of extended pickup trucks into a functional mobile office.
Clean Fuel USA

Clean Fuel USA introduced its Liquid Propane Injection (LPI) fuel system for General Motors' light- and medium-duty 6.0- and 8.1-liter gasoline engines, and for Ford 5.4-liter engines (www.cleanfuelusa.com.)

On an energy-equivalent basis, propane is about $1 per gallon cheaper than gasoline. After paying road tax, added rebates are available for using this alternative fuel. Propane burns cleaner, requiring less maintenance. Propane fuel vehicles also qualify for tax credits, rebates, and other incentives.

Dueco

Dueco, part of Odyne Corp., (www.dueco.com) featured a plug-in hybrid diesel-electric vehicle that substitutes electric power to operate booms and auxiliary tools normally controlled by hydraulics. Dueco demonstrated its system in an International 4300 with a 255 hp MaxxForce DT engine.

Electricity powers a 20,000 BTU air conditioner and up to eight hours of vehicle operating time. Also, recharging is done by the engine driving a generator or by plugging-in during off-peak recharge time for up to eight hours.

Aside from green issues, the other major trend was incorporating computers into the cabs.

Ford Truck

Ford Truck (www.fordvehicles.com/trucks) brought several innovations for tool and job management, based on its partnership with Microsoft. It unveiled a truck into which a dashboard computer has been installed. The computer has Bluetooth technology, GPS compatibility, and Word.

Fleet managers will love Tool Link, coming this fall. The system is based on radio frequency identification tags developed in conjunction with DeWalt Tools. If you have ever had a service call aborted because the mechanic left the tool at the shop and he had to turn back to get it, you'll appreciate Tool Link.

Managers can create a tool list for each task. Tool Link helps determine the necessary tools. As each required tool is loaded in the truck bed, the software logs in and records the job.

Before leaving, the mechanic checks the truck's list of what's onboard against what is required. If an item is missing, the system alerts him. When the job is done, Tool Link checks items back in, so no tool gets left behind.

mobileDUZ

One of the most innovative products was the Ultimate Field Office (UFO) from mobileDUZ (www.mobileduz.com).

The unit converts the space behind the driver's and passenger's seats of extended cab pickup trucks into a functional mobile office.

It provides storage for hanging files and tubes of 48-inch blueprint rolls. An electrical kit provides a 100-watt pure sine wave inverter to power a laptop computer, which fits in a compartment. The UFO comes with an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner. Its universal upper compartment fits on a base unit engineered individually to fit the floor plan of each pickup truck.

— Paul Abelson is a former director of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association and is currently on the Board of Truck Writers of North America. E-mailtruckwriter@anet.com.