For Dan O’Connell, vice president of Composite Truck Body, using his company’s latest truck body means big savings over using a van.
As O’Connell introduced the new 2016 100-Series cab-level capsule at the Work Truck Show today, it was pretty apparent that he’s just as passionate about talking about the capsule’s features as he is about comparing it to a van.
“When we talk to a fleet manager about this, of course their first concern is, ‘What is the cost of this?’ And I can show them in black and white that when you buy this body initially and put it into a pickup bed it costs them less.
“It cost them less to operate—to maintain to a pickup truck than a van. They get better fuel economy. Why do I say that? Two years ago if anyone told you that there would be a Dodge Ram running around here getting 29 miles to the gallon, you’d say they’re out of their minds.”
O’Connell told a group of reporters inside the Indiana Convention Center that if another truck is found with better fuel economy, the 100-series fiberglass capsule can simply be removed and placed onto the truck with the best MPG.
He said since trucks are in greater demand than vans, resale is not as big an issue as it is with a van. He also said that since pickups are the fair-haired darlings of OEMs, they’re
“All of the technology, all of the expense, all of the research and development is put into the pickup trucks and the reason why it’s put into pickup trucks is because there are 2.5 million pickup trucks built for year and there are only half-million vans built per year.
“How would you spend the money if you were an OEM? You’d put it into the pickup trucks.”
The 100-Series truck body, a joint venture with Fleetwest, has been designed to increase access time to tools and parts. As O’Connell puts it, the 100-series stems from the idea of taking a fiberglass body turning it into a tool box for a fleet.
Accessibility really starts with the capsule’s slide-out cargo beds. Two of the beds rest side by side and extending them gives access to anything that’s been stacked there. A tool box and generator is pictured on a slide-out bed in the brochure.
The slides can also be used as workbenches. A new gutter system prevents water from dripping down onto the slides if the truck happens to be parked at an angle.
Side doors lift up on either side of the capsule and offer additional storage. The model on display contained several storage bins.
The rear doors feature stainless steel hinges and easily supported O’Connel as he hung one from to display the door’s strength.
Keyless entry allows access into the capsule. If left unattended, the capsule will lock automatically in 15 minutes to protect against theft.
LED lights are placed throughout the capsule which were placed there not only to illuminate contents, but also to improve safety. The lights will turn off after 15 minutes, or immediately after the truck takes to the road.
The 100-series capsule, which comes with a 10-year warranty, is available for either a 6 ½ or 8-foot bed. The model on display, which featured a low-profile roof rack, sells for around $10,000, O’Connell said.