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March 9, 2015 3:00 AM, EDT

Ford Redesigns Medium-Duty Line, Including Updated Telematics System

John Sommers II for TT
By Joe Howard, Features Editor

This story appears in the March 9 print edition of Transport Topics.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ford Motor Co. introduced a redesigned lineup of medium-duty trucks here that includes dedicated tractor models in two weight classes, and an updated telematics suite.

The 2016 Ford F-650 Class 6 model and Class 7 F-750 will be offered in three cab styles — regular, extended and crew. In addition to the tractor models, Ford will offer straight-frame and dock-height variants. The trucks will go on sale this summer.

Ford unveiled the models at a March 3 press conference at the NTEA Work Truck Show, which was held March 3-6 at the Indiana Convention Center.

Ford will offer a choice of two engines; its in-house developed 6.7-liter turbocharged V-8 diesel or a 6.8-liter gasoline V-8. Both will be matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The diesel will be offered in three power ratings: 275 horsepower with 675 pound-feet of torque; 300 hp with 700 pound-feet of torque; and 330 hp with 725 pound-feet of torque. The gas engine has 320 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque, and can be factory prepped to operate on propane or compressed natural gas, Ford said.

The trucks’ interior is 45% quieter at idle and 25% quieter at 60 mph than the outgoing models because of its new in-house diesel engine, said John Ruppert, general manager of commercial vehicle sales and marketing.

“For a lot of people, this is an office on wheels. This makes it quieter,” he said.

Outside the vehicle, the 6.7-liter diesel is 35% quieter at idle than the previous model, an improvement for trucks that must be operated at idle in neighborhoods or near businesses, Ruppert said.

Ford also is launching a new telematics system called Ford Telematics. With architecture from technology provider Telogis, the system will replace the existing Crew Chief program and will do “what [Crew Chief] is doing today and more,” Ruppert said.

Among the program’s features is mobile connectivity that permits drivers to coordinate with management on hours-of-service reporting and vehicle inspections, Ford said.

The system also features data reporting on idle time and emissions-system performance, as well in-cab driver alerts for hard acceleration or braking, and excessive speed. The system also can be customized for driver-behavior reporting and the Telogis Coach driver-feedback mobile application, which is compatible with Android or Apple iOS platforms, Ford said.

The system will be offered globally, Ruppert added.