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Automatic Insights: Spring 2014

Allison Launches FuelSense® – New System Delivers Fuel Savings Up To 20 percent

At the NTEA ‘Work Truck’ show in Indianapolis on March 5th, Allison Transmission announced the launch of a new fuel efficiency package that can deliver up to 20 percent fuel savings. FuelSense® features automatically adapt shift schedules and torque, maximizing transmission efficiency based on load, grade and duty cycle, without sacrificing Allison advantages fleets already depend on – superior performance and Continuous Power Technology™.

Allison executives joined with Freightliner representatives to introduce FuelSense to the media and Work Truck attendees.  The integrated package of software and smart controls delivers a fuel economy breakthrough, as fuel costs have soared to become the largest expense faced by most fleets.

“Fuel prices have nearly doubled since the mid-2000s, and fleet owners need solutions,” said Michael Headly, senior vice president, global marketing, sales and service for Allison Transmission. “They want straightforward fuel economy, without compromising overall fleet performance and productivity. With FuelSense, Allison delivers the best of both worlds.”

FuelSense features include:

  • 5th Generation smart controls, acceleration management and a precision inclinometer
  • EcoCal shift technology to keep engine speed at the most efficient level 
  • Dynamic Shift Sensing to automatically sense when low-engine speed shifts can be made 
  • Neutral at Stop to save fuel and reduce emissions when the vehicle is stationary

Cutting fuel consumption by up to 20 percent during both testing and simulations, FuelSense features have already been integrated into Allison’s TC10® for tractors. At the joint announcement Wednesday, Freightliner executives revealed that it will be the first OEM to offer this fuel-saving solution in the North American medium-duty market, available in late 2014 in M2 chassis equipped with Allison 2000 and 3000 series transmissions.  

We are proud to be the first to offer this innovative solution to customers,” said Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing for Freightliner. “Our customers demand a lot from our trucks, so we set our standards high. We value our relationship with Allison and have a common commitment to maximizing the performance of work trucks and the profits of the businesses that depend on them.”

Watch the NTEA press conference here, and download more information on FuelSense here.

Allison Leads the Way in Natural Gas-Powered Trucks 

With the recent launch of the FuelSense system, Allison is on the cutting-edge of optimizing performance and fuel economy for conventional engines.  But when it comes to alternative fuels, Allison is already a recognized leader in making natural gas-powered trucks a viable fleet choice. 

Natural gas prices hover around half that of diesel, making it a compelling option as the transportation industry searches for ways to control costs.  The public and private sectors are both stepping up investments in expanding fueling infrastructure. And when it comes to matching the performance of compressed natural gas (CNG) to diesel engines, Allison is supplying cutting-edge answers.

Natural gas engines have a longer throttle-to-engine response time than diesel, as well as a lower level of clutch engagement.  Natural gas engines must work at higher speeds to overcome these issues, reducing engine life and increasing clutch wear in manual and automated manual transmissions.  For drivers, it can mean sluggish acceleration, especially at start-up, more ‘lugging’ and clutch slippage.

Allison’s torque converter and Continuous Power Technology™ multiplies torque delivered to the wheels and provides continuous, full-power shifting, overcoming the longer response time of natural gas engines to deliver strong ‘startability’ and acceleration with a smooth, quiet ride.

“In the search for cheaper, cleaner alternative fuels, natural gas is a high-growth market,” said Lou Gilbert, director of North American marketing and global brand development for Allison. “Natural gas engines do present some unique issues, however, and we’ve focused on engineering the same power and performance that drivers experience from our diesel models.”

On March 4th, John Kresse, senior strategic controls engineer for Allison, presented to the NTEA’s Green Truck Summit (an affiliated event of the Work Truck Show focused on sustainability and green fleet technologies) on “Allison Automatics: The Natural Advantage.”  Kresse highlighted the performance characteristics of the CNG engine, and the unique advantages Allison offers to overcome them. 

“Sustainability is a major issue in transportation, there’s no question about it,” Kresse noted.  “But too often the conversation about green issues is too far removed from the day-to-day productivity of fleets.  It’s our job to turn potential benefits into practical savings, and I’m proud of the work Allison has done to make natural gas a clean fuel that’s also a performance fuel.”

The practical benefits of Allison’s natural gas-optimized transmissions were also affirmed recently as one of North America’s leading transportation services companies announced a major expansion of its CNG fleet:  In June, Penske Truck Leasing purchased 200 Freightliner M2 and Cascadia models, all equipped with Allison automatic transmissions, to deploy for rental and long-term lease across the U.S.

“Allison Transmission is a valuable partner in building a high-performance CNG fleet for our customers,” said Alen Beljin, corporate public relations manager for Penske Truck Leasing.  “Our goal is to provide alternative fuel rental and leasing options that minimize costs and carbon emissions without compromising the driver experience.  Innovative companies like Allison and Freightliner are helping us capitalize on the growing interest in natural gas-powered trucks.”

Penske is deploying the CNG trucks now, in regions with sufficient fueling density.  With market observers predicting double-digit annual growth in natural gas truck and bus sales over the next decade, Allison expects to play a key role in helping more leading companies like Penske embrace natural gas as a fuel that’s better for the environment and the bottom line.

Just Over A Month Left To ‘Hit Paydirt’ With Construction Incentives 

In mid-January, Allison launched its 2014 construction incentive program – a cash incentive for eligible fleet owners on models typically used in construction fleets.  A little over six weeks have gone by since the program was introduced – but there’s still time for dealers to Hit Paydirt!

With the construction market predicted to shift up, Allison Transmission is helping put sales in gear. The Paydirt program gives fleet managers upfront incentives to make the change to easy-to-drive, efficient transmissions that offer the continuous power and performance needed on the jobsite.

From now until April 30, 2014 new customers can still save big on Allison RDS Transmissions.  The Paydirt program is available for Allison-equipped construction vehicles sold in the United States and Canada, for maximum orders of ten transmissions.

“We’re willing to invest in our new customers, because we’re confident they’ll be partners for years to come as their fleets and businesses grow,” said Lou Gilbert, director of North American marketing and global brand development, in announcing the program.  “And with just over one month left, it’s time to turn immediate savings into long-term relationships – it’s time to Hit Paydirt.”  

New 9800 Oil Field Series Engineered For Performance Under Pressure

In the capital-intensive oil and gas market, idle equipment is the enemy – Allison’s new 9800 Oil Field Series delivers the horsepower and durability needed in today’s fracturing and pressure pumping techniques.  The first OFS model, the 9826, is rated 2600 HP.  

In late February, Allison introduced a new product line engineered to meet the evolving needs of the global energy market. Advances in fracturing and pressure pumping have driven U.S. oil production to a 25-year high, and also allowed massive new supplies of natural gas to be extracted from previously inaccessible shale formations. (One reason for the growing interest in natural gas-powered truck fleets.)

Allison unveiled the 9800 Oil Field Series (OFS) and its inaugural 9826 OFS model (rated at 2600 HP) to deliver the horsepower and durability needed for the intense demands of these techniques.     

“In today’s oil and gas industry, particularly in North America, extended duty cycles are the norm, and idle equipment is the enemy,” said Michael Headly, senior vice president, global marketing, sales and service for Allison Transmission. “Allison brings more than six decades of industry expertise and field-tested insight to the new 9800 OFS line.”

Like all Allison products, the OFS line will be backed by an extensive global service and support network.

“Rig operators are under constant pressure to improve days-to-depth and boost recovery factors,” said Chris Vargo, director of global off-highway marketing, sales and service for Allison Transmission. “That means delivering reliable, continuous power through the rig – failure is not an option. Confidence in your equipment is important, as is knowing that the manufacturer stands behind it. That is the value of an Allison transmission and our commitment with the new 9800 OFS models.”