Going on a green drive

Once again, the Green Truck Summit was held in conjunction with the National Truck & Equipment Association’s Work Truck Show.   The Summit discusses cutting-edge alternative power solutions at the forefront of technology and has become the leading educational forum on how the “green revolution” impacts trucks, particularly work vehicles.   Part of the events, held earlier this month in Indianapolis, IN, was the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive. This was an opportunity to drive a variety of green work trucks through the streets of Indianapolis.   These included vehicles powered by an all-electric drive, propane, CNG, parallel hybrid propulsion system, Variable Torque Motors parallel electric drive hybrid powertrain, Eaton parallel electric hybrid system, diesel electric hybrid drive system and Azure Dynamics’ Force Drive battery electric powertrain, among others.   I took full advantage of this “green drive” opportunity.   The difficulty for me was deciding what vehicles to put through the paces. There were 21 vehicles and a limited time period.   However, with the weather being cold, windy and rainy, the number of people wanting to drive was down from what had been expected. So, I was able to pilot more vehicles than I would have otherwise.   Overall, I was impressed by the operation of green trucks. They require no special training to operate and drive pretty much like conventional vehicles.   I was also surprised by the smooth, quiet and powerful operation. A few were quite zippy.   Because of the weather conditions, I didn’t take the opportunity to crawl underneath the vehicles or spend much time poking around under the hoods.   It’s not that I mind getting cold and wet. The representatives with the vehicles seemed to.   Weather, and representatives, permitting, I’ll do that at next year’s Green Truck Ride-and-Drive.