NTEA’s Green Truck Association partners to create and donate lightweight vehicle

Guest editorial
Kellie Walsh, Executive Director, Greater Indiana Clean Cities
Green Truck Association Treasurer

This article was published in the November 2017 edition of NTEA News.

It’s hard to believe more than a year has gone by since the first Lightweight and Advanced Technology Demo Truck was showcased at The Work Truck Show® 2016. This truck is currently in operation at Habitat for Humanity in Anderson, Indiana — helping the organization save construction materials and household goods from ending up in landfills.

Lightweight Technology Council, a working group within NTEA’s Green Truck Association (GTA) affiliate division, facilitated the design and build of the lightweight technology demonstration truck featured at the Show. To further expand the boundaries of efficiency, NTEA and GTA member companies partnered with several innovative industry businesses to provide equipment for the Isuzu-based transfer body lightweight vehicle.

The Isuzu NRR diesel Class 5 truck with an empty weight of 6,848 pounds and payload allowance of 12,652 pounds includes the following.

  • Alcoa’s one-piece, lightweight forged aluminum wheels with corrosion-resistant DuraBright® finish
  • Switch-N-GoDetachable Body Hoist System
  • Voth aluminum frame with Copan’s ultralight construction truck body​

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) engineers provided expert analysis of the vehicle’s value in terms of fuel and CO2 reductions. In addition to lightweighting the body and wheels, other technologies such as Isuzu’s chassis data system were factored into the calculations on fuel and emissions savings over a 10-year operating period.

Real-world use
Today, the truck is utilized to collect donated material for resale and use in area home renovations and new construction. This helps Habitat for Humanity focus on its core mission, instead of a new truck purchase, and offers additional savings in fuel economy. GTA also provided the organization with a vehicle data logger supported by FleetCarma. The data logger gives an online snapshot of how the truck is being used and where it is going (see chart below). Such reports help fleet managers better understand usage and opportunities for operational improvement.

The engineers and visionaries behind this project had more in mind than simply creating an all-around efficient vehicle — they chose to donate the one-of-kind byproduct of fueling innovation to Habitat for Humanity. The one-year, no-cost lease was made possible by Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. Donation of equipment and upfits were made by participating NTEA and GTA member companies. Local support was provided by Mid-State Truck Equipment.

The Habitat for Humanity truck is a solid example of a highly efficient application of lightweighting technology. NREL’s research and analysis of the vehicle shows fuel use reduction and improved gas mileage as compared to traditionally made trucks.

With their combined contributions, Alcoa Wheels, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., Voth Truck Bodies, Greater Indiana Clean Cities, Copan Co., Mid-State Truck Equipment and Switch-N-Go, helped demonstrate the effectiveness of lightweighting technology. Most importantly, though, these companies showed a dedication to bettering our communities by giving their work to Habitat for Humanity — a notable example of what can be achieved when innovation and philanthropy come together.