Whenever a new truck model came out recently, the truck brand would also introduce a new automatic or automated option to the market, indicating that transmission technology will be a critical growth area going forward. Even though the number of ‘autos’ that are actually out on the highway still make for a relatively small portion of total sales; this development suggests that their presence in Australia is bound to increase.
The latest model to appear with an auto-option is the Fuso Fighter FK 1024, which will be available with an Allison five-speed automatic transmission. It’s safe to say the FK is the centrepiece of the Fuso truck range – at 10.4 tonnes GVM it is the no-nonsense workhorse of the distribution industry as well as a platform for many businesses to carry their own goods or equipment – so adding the Allison option is certainly a statement pro auto.
Trucks like the FK Fighter are not designed for an open highway environment; they live in the world of suburban streets, industrial areas, building sites and main urban arterial routes. Working in a crowded environment, the truck needs to be easy to use, have good visibility, and be able to keep up with the flow of traffic. The modern driver also expects a much higher level of performance from a truck than in the past – even when fully loaded. Crawling up a steep grade in a very low gear would be deemed as unacceptable in a modern day truck of this size.
As a result, the amount of power and torque available in a 10.4-tonne truck in the modern era is very high when compared to the past. The kind of horsepower available here would have been enough for a fully laden prime mover less than a generation ago. The FK’s Mitsubishi Fuso 6M60 6-cylinder 7.5-litre engine, for example, puts out 237 hp (177 kW) at a relatively high 2500 rpm, with torque coming in at 745 Nm (550 ft lb) at 1400 rpm. Only a test drive can clarify how smoothly this engine and the five-speed Allison 2500 transmission work together, and how well they perform with all of the other vehicle systems.
Read the full story in the current edition of Prime Mover – out now.