2012 Work Truck Show: Full of Solutions

A fleet and commercial truck show is a little different from a normal auto show. In truth, it's a lot better because you don't have to cut through all the distractions of glitz and shiny parts. For the most part, the NTEA Work Truck Show is no-nonsense and practical, just like the work-truck guys in this industry. 

Over the past few years, several automakers have made the show an important place to reveal products — pickups, vans, chassis cabs — that capture the interest of fleet and commercial buyers. And, of course, a lot of technology that might not be possible packaged for a single-purchase customer might make more financial sense for someone purchasing 100 or 3,000 vehicles.

There is certainly good money to be made here, and this year there was definitely a feeling that everyone could take a deep breath and get back to building up their pipelines. The mood at this show hasn't been so great the past few years for the big or small players. But even the little companies trying to catch the attention of the major manufacturers and hoping to sign a few purchase orders at the show seemed to be in good spirits.

We spent the day walking around the show and looking for interesting products. Here are some of the cool things we saw.

Ford F-750 Plug-in Hybrid

Ford partnered with mega-powertrain experts from Odyne to make what could be the largest and strongest plug-in hybrid vehicle ever seen. Just one of the lithium-ion battery packs (it has two) wieghs more than the payload capacity of a Chevy Volt. Depending on use, the systems could save as much as 1,750 gallons of fuel per year. Click here to learn more about Odyne.

Venco VP6 Dump Truck

This company has been around for several years, but recently its VP6 bed hoist has become more and more popular. The cost of the install is likely to be under $4,000, and it will turn your long or short bed into a hard-working, max-payload-hungry dump truck. It's worth noting the install will affect towing capacity, and you will have to raise the bed each time you have to fill up with fuel. For more info, click here.

Via Motors VREV VTRUX Test Drive

We had the chance to drive one of the newest powertrain supplies around. Via Motors (we saw them at this year's Detroit auto show) sells Volt-like powertrains to those interested in buying GM pickups, full-size vans or SUVs. Via already has 2,500 orders this year, and it expects about 10,000 orders for 2013. To Via's credit, the company has a simple cost calculator that gives fleet buyers all they need to know about making back their significant investment. As you'd expect, the VTRUX has great off-the-line feel because the system effectively works like a one-speed electric-motor transmission. Expect a heavy-duty version to come out with a stronger two-speed model. Go to www.viamotors.com for more info.

Fuel Tank Capless Ram HD

With the introduction of Ram Truck's first factory-installed 2500 HD long-bed crew-cab pickups that can run on compressed natural gas, we noticed this is Ram's first use of a capless fuel tank. We're told Ram had to move to that option to allow the CNG and gasoline filler locations to sit under the same fuel door. (To date, Ford is the only truck maker to use a capless fuel tank.) It was unclear whether all Ram vehicles are getting ready to switch to the "capless" strategy, but all the CNG units will require it.

ProPickup's Contractor's Giveaway

ProPickup Magazine spent the year building this contractor's special Super Duty truck, called Project Super Crew, and the magazine is ready to give away the truck by the first week of April. The truck has a 75-gallon refueling tank, a Vanair 150 compressor and arc welder, 35-inch Mickey Thompson tires, a Transfer Flow 50-gallon fuel tank and many other accessories. For more information on how to register and the specific eligibility requirements, click here.

Stop, Drop and Load

We're putting the LoRiser inclining platform trailer on our Christmas list. These trailers have a hydraulic lifting and lowing mechanism that allows the entire trailer to drop and tilt at a five-degree angle to eliminate any need for a separate set of ramps when loading your rigs. The trailer essentially pivots the single or dual wheels with a powerful ram that also acts like a dedicated suspension for the trailer, riding soft when empty and stiffer when loaded. The trailers have between 6,000- and 16,000-pound capacities cost from under $10,000 to just under $20,000. Click here to learn more.

Strapping Down the Cargo

We see too many pickup trucks moving down the road with cargo just tossed into the bed and not properly secured. We're not saying you need to strap everything you carry in the bed, but it's not a bad idea. One of the best cargo restraint setups we saw at the show was from Bednet, which offers all sorts of large and small strapping solutions for cargo inside and outside your truck.

Going for the View

Cars.com Multimedia Editor Matt Avery jumped at the chance to risk life and limb by climbing into a rooftop-mounted telescoping bucket from French Canadian company GSR Conception. Matt thought we needed a few birdseye-view shots to create the mood for anyone watching the videos we put together at the show. To see the videos, you can check the PickupTrucks.com homepage or search the site under 2012 Work Truck Show videos.

Cargo Protection and Tailgate Shade

This product from HercuLoc is a simple solution for Ford and GM truck owners who need to keep their cargo secure but want more than a sandard rear-hinged tonneau cover. The bed cover is solid and lockable, and it offers a spring-loaded, four-post design that moves out of the way for easy loading and unloading. This could also be the ultimate tailgate product, as the cover can also act as portable shade. For a look at the product, click here.


@Mark Williams Cargo Nets are common here for exposed items.

Renault has introduced a 16 Tonne, Payload 5.5 tonne(12,000lbs) all Electric Box Truck.

They also have like a few others have ,ia Hybrid Truck for the construction industry. Move up to 20kmh on it battery and power regenerated from the brakes.

Renault 16 Tonne Truck again, previous link did not work. RENAULT Trucks are owned by VOLVO. VOLVO own MACK and the Japanese UD trucks.

If there's a plugin hybrid for a giant F-750, what's taking so long putting this technology in consumer trucks?

I can definitely use a cargo net like that one pictured. I've been trying to find something like that for a long time but all I ended up with was those stringy ones that become a tangled mess.

@Max probably cost. A MDT or even HDT truck would be more cost effective. Do they still have Hybrid Silverado's?

That tilting LO-RISER trailer is a must-have!

@Robert Ryan
yeah there is still Hybrid Silverado's.

What them capless fuel filler like ford guys? I never got a chance to see one in person, I rather have a cap but a good idea.

No solution offered for Ford's weak frames. Still junk as always.

I see Ford is stepping their game up in the HD section with a hybrid Diesel. I guess Toyota better look out Ford now has an even larger and stronger hybrid than theirs http://www.hino.com./coe/story_922.php?PHPSESSID=f55d757e602181ebfae2e2a076b3ad96. I hope Toyota doesnt let Ford take over the diesel hybrid game in North America.

Ya know whats goin to sucks 10-20 years from now all trucks are going to be hybrids:( probly no DIESELS,stacks,Cummins, or anything but i have seen scientist are building a machine that sucks co2 out of the air and turns it into water then you just have to clean the water but it wont be out till 2030 or more. But if it got here we could keep useing diesels and gas engines

When is the Tacoma Baja report due?

@ Greg Didn't know there was a problem. What has a so called by you weak frame have to do with this story?? You trolls never go away do you.

@ "Ram",
I'm not sure what the benefit would be aside from cleaner air. You're still having to use oil which is an unstable commodity thanks to the crooks on wall street and countries like Iran making threats. And every day it's another excuse why the price is higher.

They still have oil spilled in the gulf. Is this really the cost you want to have to make your truck go from point A to B ?
So it can sound really awesome and make big plumes of smoke come out the tail pipe?

If you ask me, it's time for some new technology. I'm tired of getting screwed every time I go to the gas station.

The dump box on the Chevy and the lo ride trailer are pretty slick.

Entered for that SuperDuty!

@5.3 Hino has a heavier CNG unit outside the US.
They offer a similar light Hybrid Truck here for City stop start/Box Truck work

ISUZU tried a Hybrid small truck in 2005 , was not impressed by the benefits, Now offers like Hino an up too 30,000lb GVWR CNG Light/Medium truck.

FUSO offers a Light Hybrid.

UD Trucks has a similar light Truck/ Hybrid to be released . Not using the technology of it's Volvo parent.

I like most of the innovations, except for the last one. Boy look at the f750 hybrid. One battery is more than the towing capacity of a volt, WOW! Thats one heavy f-n battery....

I like that customized superduty, and the cargo net is a fanatastic idea. I do like the hydrolic beds and that lo riser trailer should be essential for any truck owner with hauling needs.

All in all, most of these ideas are advancing or otherwise improving trucking capabilities and functions.


There is no oil spilled on the gulf anymore,even the grasslands people were complaining about grew back 1 month after the spill !! If it were still there people would be talking about it 24/7 the greenies dont even mention it,because it is clean now !

We dont have enough electricity for electric vehicles.We already have brown outs and black outs ! In the U.S and Canada they tell us to turn off the a/c in the house,dont wash clothes,turn off the lights how are we going to have enough electricity to charge our vehicles ? We wont !

Windmills are useless because we dont have enough space for enough windmills to power America.We would have to clearcut every tree,fill in creeks to build windmills ! Plus the powerlines we need to get the power from the windmills would be everywhere,plus the huge noise thump,thump,thump of a windmill it even makes people sick.

The current President said under his plan electricty rates will skyrocket !! So you will have a $4000 per month bill to heat/cool/light your home and charge your electric car/truck..Electricity is NOT free !! Plug in vehicles are a no go,we have enough oil to last centuries,and oil is clean people who want the industrial world to come to an end are behind this b.s about oil is bad ! Furthermore,we need oil for other things than gas for vehicles...

Co2 is not pollution,did you know when you breath out it is co2 ? It is...

@ MAX, Read this !


@ Canadian Dodge RAM owner,

Canadians do have common sense !

man it would be nice if we could just drill here where there is all kinds off oil and gas but with all the tree hugers we can. hell we can even run a pipe line any more.gas prices would fall.

For those of you that like the small Paccar cab-overs:

This is the hybrid produced by the Dutch truck firm owned by Paccar (DAF). I guess they could built that in the USA tomorrow if they wanted to...

@johnny doe - I haven't had any problems with the "capless" system so far. I think that one will have to keep an eye on the gasket on the filler door so it continues to keep dust, dirt, and moisture out of the filler. You have to wait 5 seconds before removing the pump nozzle to allow pressures in the tank to equilibrate. The self sealing valve closes pretty tight. I'm not sure how big a deal it is as my wife forgets all of the time.

All seem to be good ideas. The idea of a large commercial hybrid or battery only truck is interesting. I wonder what is the range and cost?
Those cargo nets look handy, better than the cheep spider web ones I always see.
I like the Super Duty, unfortunately I'm not eligible to enter the draw.
I like the pop up tonneau cover. To bad it doesn't go partway up to the height of the cab so you could carry bulky cargo under it.


Truck caps are better for bulky cargo than pop up tonneou covers...

Camper shells give your truck so much MORE usable space and also adds some much needed aerodynamics to a truck to help get better gas mpg!


oxi's tips:

oxis recommends getting a camper/cap if you plan to haul a lot of cargo. otherwise a tonneau cover works but not as well...

Keep in mind a tonneau gives you less security than a cap/camper...

A camper shell can be used as a de-facto storage shed for items that need to be moved, but the items are to tall for a tonneau cover...

A camper shell improves air flow and MPG...

oxi can carry much more survival gear with a camper shell than a tiny toneau cover could handle...

oxi's rig is not as big and fat like a full size and but he still has a 6 foot bed behind with loads of possibilities compared to a full size with 5.5 foot bed and tiny tonneou cover offers...

That trailer is pretty sweet but you can get a normal trailer for 4-5000.00.

@Lou, said "All seem to be good ideas. The idea of a large commercial hybrid or battery only truck is interesting. I wonder what is the range and cost?".

They seem , Hybrids work better on smaller stop/go inner city trucks. Hino/Isuzu have gone for GNG for heavier trucks, less costly, no battery to replace, greater range and less polluting.

@Robert Ryan - agreed. The range would limit them to the confines of a major city.

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