Plant Dedication Highlights New Work Van

Posted October 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

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Executives from Utilimaster Corp., a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, teamed with leaders from Spartan, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. and Isuzu Manufacturing Services of America at a plant dedication at Utilimaster’s headquarters that also served as a showcase for the new Reach™ commercial van.

“The Reach represents a great opportunity to impact our customers’ businesses, significantly reducing both fuel consumption across their fleets, as well as their carbon footprint,” said Utilimaster President John Forbes, during the Oct. 25 event in Wakarusa, IN. “Today is the culmination of a focused program that benefited from the global resources and powertrain capabilities of Isuzu, and the market-specific knowledge and product development capabilities of Utilimaster.”

Unveiled in March, the Reach – with a body designed by Utilimaster and set on an Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX chassis powered by Isuzu’s 3.0 liter diesel engine – offers the functionality of a custom-built work truck, along with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van, according to a news release. The Reach also achieves 35% better fuel economy than a traditional van and meets the latest EPA emission standards. Yet it is still a true commercial truck and delivers a lower cost of ownership than traditional walk-in vans, the release said.

Powering the Reach is Isuzu’s biodiesel fuel-compatible 4JJ1-TC 3.0-liter turbocharged engine, mated to an Aisin medium-duty six-speed automatic transmission. Both the engine and transmission have a class-leading B10 durability rating of 310,000 miles, meaning that 90% of units will reach that mileage before requiring an overhaul, the release said.

Utilimaster oversaw the development of the Reach’s aerodynamic shape, along with its use of composite materials, which together improve fuel efficiency and reduce interior noise. The lightweight composite materials provide a 700-lb. weight savings compared to traditional aluminum and steel materials. The Reach van also employs impact-resistant composite panels that are designed to reduce overall maintenance costs.

The Reach comes with a 151-inch wheelbase and two body lengths – 12 and 14 feet. The interior is up to 27 inches higher than a conventional domestic van and 10 inches wider than imported vans. The cargo area of the Reach offers 540 or 630 cubic feet of storage, depending on body length. Unlike many cargo vans, the Reach is designed to allow the driver to enter the cargo area quickly without leaving the vehicle. 

Click here to read the news release.