The Work Truck Show 2017 showed the ongoing evolution of the commercial truck industry, with more than 500 exhibiting companies displaying advances in electrification, diesel, gasoline, and advanced fuel powertrains, light-weighting, and even augmented reality and solar power.

The Show, held in Indianapolis March 14-17, was attended by a total of 11,799 industry professionals from all 50 US states, plus Puerto Rico, and 22 countries attended. The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) expanded the Show to occupy all available space in the convention center this year, making it the biggest event in Association history.

“There was a lot of energy in the building,” said Steve Carey, NTEA executive director. “Attendees were excited to check out the latest trucks, equipment, and technology on the exhibit floor, to test new vehicles during the ride-and-drive and to take advantage of more than 60 learning opportunities throughout the week.”

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America Inc announced it will bring its new eCanter fully electric Class 4 trucks to market before the end of the year.

In other electrification news, Ford Commercial Vehicles introduced its eQVM program to help customers get electrified and hydraulic hybrid work trucks that retain their original powertrain warranties. The program launched with three developers: XL Hybrids, Motiv Power Systems, and Lightning Hybrids. XL Hybrids also debuted its XLP plug-in hybrid electric powertrain on a Ford F-150. eNow introduced the Wireless Monitoring System for its solar-based commercial vehicle power systems.

Other notable product launches included the Foundation Food Truck walk-in van body from Morgan Olson, Allison Transmission’s FuelSense 2.0 featuring DynActive Shifting software that can deliver additional fuel savings of up to 6 percent, and the VMAC DTM PTO-driven air compressor that mounts directly to a truck’s transmission.

Ram Commercial demonstrated its new Augmented Reality Upfit Configurator, a computer-generated visual program that enables upfitters and dealers to showcase a number of vehicle options to customers who can virtually walk around and look inside upfit vans and chassis cabs.

In total, there were a record-setting 26 press conferences and more than 150 products launched at the Show.

Green Truck Summit, the premier alternative fuels and advanced technology conference held annually in conjunction with The Work Truck Show, had increased attendance even as fuel prices are at historic lows in North America. The Summit explores the pathway toward zero emissions, recognizing there is not a single alternative fuel or technology that is the sole solution.

“The Green Truck Summit is unique because it brings together industry, academia, and regulators to find the common ground moving forward,” Carey said.

This year’s event featured representatives from California Air Resources Board, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Transport Canada, Union of Concerned Scientists, US Department of Energy and US Environmental Protection Agency presenting alongside leading OEM engineers and fleet customers.

Other popular educational options this year included special sessions on recruiting and retaining Millennials, implementing lean processes, rapid prototyping, and fleet management. A sold-out crowd attended the President’s Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting with keynote address by Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long on March 16.

Adam Keane, executive vice-president of Allied Body Works Inc. (Seattle, Washington), was installed as 53rd president of the NTEA.

He accepted this position from immediate past president Matt Wilson, chairman & CEO of Switch-N-Go, AmeriDeck & Bucks Divisions of Deist Industries Inc (Hadley, Pennsylvania), at the President’s Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting.

“The work truck industry has so much to offer, and I’m extremely proud to be involved,” Keane said. “Taking on the role of 53rd Association president, I’m eager to work with the membership to keep NTEA’s mission moving forward.”

Keane joined Allied Body Works in 2004. In his current position, he bridges the gap between sales and operations, utilizing industry resources to find solutions when technical issues arise. He manages strategic alliances with business partners to expand company product lines.

In 2000, he went to Eastern Washington University on a football scholarship, where he studied business. While in college, he served as a seasonal intern on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff. In 2010, he became chairman of NTEA’s Young Executives Network (now known as Generation Next).

A new company called Liftgator won the Innovation Award for a liftgate that mounts to a standard receiver hitch and can be installed or removed in three minutes.

The Innovation Award honors the product displayed at the Show deemed “most innovative” by a panel of trade media editors and truck fleet managers. LiftGator XTR was selected from a field of more than 150 eligible products entered through The Work Truck Show 2017 New Product Spotlight or New Product Media Guide programs.

The Work Truck Show returns to Indianapolis March 6–9, 2018. Sessions begin March 6, and the exhibit hall is open March 7–9. ♦