It’s no secret that the Mack LR model was the highlight of Mack’s presence at Waste Expo 2015 held earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Its focus on driver comfort and maneuverability resonated with news outlets and spurred an impressive amount of positive feedback. Industry experts remarked on the LR’s innovative and effective design and customers who test drove the truck at the show commented on its ergonomics, safety, spacious interior, ease of handling and more.
The LR also started a buzz with Mack's social media followers, generating more than 25,000 views and almost 400,000 impressions before, during and after the launch. Our social team filmed and edited over five video live from the show. Mack kept the #WasteExpo2015 hash tag busy with live updates to our followers through our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. If you are not following Mack on social, connect with us through the links at the bottom of the page.
Walk Around of the New LR Model
Take a walk around tour with me as I highlight features, benefits and differences of the LR in Mack's booth at Waste Expo.
LR Ride & Drives
Visitors to our booth at Waste Expo got the chance to test drive three LR models at our test track out back. Check out their reactions below to see why they believe the LR is a right fit for their businesses.
Chad Mathiowetz of Braun & Borth Sanitation found the visibility out of the Mack LR to be "1000 times better."
Nicole Thunich of Progressive Waste Solutions is focused on providing drivers with a safe environment to work. The Mack LR meets the challenge.
Robert Ashworth of The City of Glendale test drove the new Mack LR and was impressed with the turning radius and smooth ride.
Recently, I answered a few questions with Automotive World about the New Mack LR and the Waste Expo event:
1. What were the main themes explored at WasteExpo 2015 in the refuse segment?
One of the most visible themes at WasteExpo 2015 was regarding the issues surrounding the handling of organic matter in the waste stream. Everyone is familiar with recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans, but organic materials actually constitute a higher percentage of the overall waste stream, even more so than the products most people recycle.
2. How does the new Mack LR model meet the demands of the customer?
The Mack LR model meets customer needs by providing productivity and comfort features for the operator, and by better integrating body controls into the architecture of the truck. Together, these can help lower the total cost of ownership.
The LR builds on the success of the previous Mack TerraPro Low Entry model and provides a very robust and versatile truck that can function well in a number of applications within residential and commercial collection.
3. Is it vital that the truck can be powered by both diesel and natural gas?
Absolutely. The refuse industry has been on the leading edge of the alternative fuel deployment curve. Most of the large national fleets and regional fleets have a natural gas truck program up and running, and it our pleasure to be able to fill the majority of needs when it comes to fuel source, whether it be traditional diesel or natural gas.
4. How has the company ensured that performance and efficiency is not compromised when switching between the fuels? (NG and dual-fuel engines have often been slated as being in-efficient).
Well, there is a bit of physics involved. Diesel is a wonderfully energy-dense fuel. There just isn’t anything else quite like it. Natural gas, however, is less energy dense and more expensive to store, so some compromises have to be made regarding cost, weight, cooling and gear ratios. Taking these compromises into consideration is very much understood these days, and they allow the natural gas engine to operate in a similar way compared to diesel.
We always advise our customers to pencil out the total impact on their entire enterprise when contemplating a switch from diesel to natural gas. That includes the expected price of natural gas at a diesel gallon equivalent to who and how to service a natural gas-powered truck.
5. Roughly how many of your customers do you personally think will go for the Cummins Westport NG engine, as opposed to the Mack MP7 diesel?
It really depends on each customer’s situation. In some areas, the availability of grants or legislation may push a decision one way or the other. Also, fueling infrastructure, or the ability to cost effectively provide fueling, may make diesel a better choice. Then there are always considerations such as weight, torque, access to service and acquisition costs that favor diesel over gas. There really isn’t a ‘fits all’ solution or situation.
6. Even though Mack is offering NG solutions, the company’s innovative and efficient diesel powertrains are most likely ticking many boxes for the customer. Diesel is still considered by most to be the prevailing fuel for the commercial vehicle segment- would you agree?
Without a doubt, diesel is still the undisputed king of heavy-duty power. Furthermore, EPA 2010 and newer calibrated engines are virtually zero emission vehicles from the standpoint of what the EPA regulates for both natural gas and diesel engines. One could argue that diesel is now cleaner from the standpoint of regulated gases compared to many natural gas engines, which is something you don’t hear about much. Clean diesel is real.
7. In what situation (megacity as opposed to rural, for example) does the NG engine perform better than the diesel, and vise versa?
To get the best balance of cost, weight and range, a natural gas engine fits very well into a high-density collection cycle. Natural gas engines also are quieter compared with diesel engines.
In a low-density rural type application, diesel will likely be a better choice for a number of reasons, some of which are the range is less restrictive before refueling is needed and maximizing payload.
8. What kind of statement is Mack making by using customer input to influence its model? Is the company suggesting it will meet the demands of its customers no matter what?
Meeting the needs of our customers through the design and engineering of our products is nothing new for Mack. We call it “application excellence” and it’s something we’ve been doing for 115 years. But serving our customers doesn’t stop with the sale of a truck.
Refuse customers keep their trucks for a long time, so it’s important that the truck meets the needs of operators and fleets. We are in for the long haul too, with support for our customers well beyond the time of the initial sale. With our strong network of dealers, our refuse customers can count on Mack having their backs.
9. What is next for Mack trucks and the broadening of its innovative and clean powertrain portfolio?
I would love to tell you more, but stick around. We’ll have more to talk about in the near future, and it really is good stuff.