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Vol. 15, No. 32 Week of August 08, 2010
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

AK-WA Connection 2010: Dealers offer new trucks, mobile service

Tougher federal emissions standards, innovative technologies drive lineup of new diesel vehicles at Kenworth Alaska, Seekins Ford

Rose Ragsdale

Alaska-Washington Connection

The year 2010 has brought important changes in emissions rules and innovative new services to Alaska’s transportation sector.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required all diesel engines manufactured on or after Jan. 1 to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 83 percent from the 2007 standard —to 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour from 1.2g/bhp-hr.

To meet the new standard, most engine original equipment manufacturers, including Cummins, Detroit Diesel, General Motors and ICTA, among others — have employed selective catalytic reduction technology, or SCR.

This technology reduces NOx levels by injecting small amounts of urea-based solution called diesel exhaust fluid, or DEF, into a catalyst, which reacts with the NOx captured in the catalyst to convert the pollutant into harmless nitrogen and water before it’s emitted into the environment.

It is one of the only technically and commercially viable emissions control technologies that can meet the NOx emissions standard of 0.2 g/hp-hr, especially for Class 8 heavy-duty diesel trucks.

Kenworth Alaska reports that its customers are warming to the new SCR technology, which passed rigorous testing in Alaska’s severe cold.

Jim Scherieble, general manager of Kenworth Alaska, said the diesel exhaust fluid used in the new engines freezes at 11 degrees Farenheit. Cummins, which manufactures engines for Kenworth’s trucks, developed add-ons to heat the engine and the lines running to the SCR equipment to ensure that it burns in harsh temperatures.

Cummins worked with an Alaska trucking firm to test the SCR technology for two years on trucks traveling the Fairbanks-Prudhoe Bay route in temperatures as low as minus 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We’ve sold our first two 2010 trucks, and we have four more on order,” Scherieble said in a June interview.

Though Kenworth and its original equipment manufacturers added $10,000 worth of equipment to the new trucks, they also lowered the price so that 2010 models cost about the same as 2009 models “at least for now,” he said.

Ford wins recognition

Ford also rolled out new diesel engines in its 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty truck with improvements designed to deliver aggressive horsepower, torque, emissions and fuel economy targets.

Work Truck magazine recognized the Ford Super Duty truck for a third consecutive award as the “Medium-Duty Truck of the Year.”

“The 2011 Super Duty is not only the most powerful, most capable, and fuel-efficient heavy-duty pickup truck on the road, it performs the tough jobs with even more efficiency than ever before,” said Len Deluca, director of Ford commercial trucks, sales and marketing.

Ford Motor Co.’s reputation of providing fleets with the best work truck available is reinforced with the 2011 Super Duty, delivering more productivity with best-in-class horsepower and torque, as well as class-leading fuel economy from new gasoline and all-new diesel engines, he said.

In Alaska, Seekins Ford Lincoln-Mercury is a premier retailer of the Ford family of vehicles, including Super Duty series trucks equipped for the sub-Arctic environment.

Service on the go

To enhance its ability to service customers, Kenworth Alaska recently added a mobile service truck at its Anchorage store. Part of the Kenworth Northwest dealerships owned by the Cymbaluk family, Kenworth Alaska operates service centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

“Our Seattle store has five mobile service trucks and we have one in nearly every store in Washington,” Schereible said. “With the (traffic) congestion and packed freeways, the service is very popular in the Puget Sound area.”

Equipped with a compressor, welder and generator, Kenworth’s mobile service van responds to customer calls anywhere in the Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley areas. Its driver/technician performs basic repairs and maintenance, including changing a truck’s oil and fluids.

“We can take care of any breakdown, and we can do the servicing (at one time) for businesses with several trucks in their fleet,” Schereible said.

Asked if Fairbanks will be getting a mobile service van, he said Kenworth will wait to see how customers in Southcentral Alaska respond to the service before making that decision.

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