04 Apr 2012
TORONTO, Ont. — Fleet operators and equipment aficionados got their first up-close look at Autocar’s Xspotter terminal tractor yesterday, at a customer event hosted by dealer Glasvan Great Dane.
Glasvan had several units on display, which represent the first Autocar shunt trucks built for the Ontario market. A longtime shunt truck dealer, Glasvan announced a deal with Autocar late last year to become its first Canadian distributor. Autocar has a storied history as a heavy vehicle manufacturer, but has been producing terminal tractors for only the past four years or so.
George Cobham Jr., vice-president of sales and marketing with Glasvan, said his company has worked closely with Autocar to develop a Canadian spec’.
“We spent a lot of time working directly with Autocar’s engineer,” he told Trucknews.com in an interview at the event. “It took many months of going back and forth and many conference calls. We needed to incorporate our Canadian harsh climate package, our safety package and our driver comfort package, which included about 25-30 items. They’d done a lot of those items before, but not all together on one truck, so they had to get this all done for us to meet the Glasvan spec’.”
The end result is a truck that’s “spec’d for what our customers are used to and for the Canadian environment,” Cobham added.
Glasvan has already sold about four units and Cobham said customer are showing interest in the new offering.
“We’re getting lots of enquiries about it,” he said. “People have heard the name, but they’ve never seen one before. Hopefully this event will fill in a lot of those blanks. We have sold equipment and we have a lot coming in for stock.”
The Xspotter offers a roomy cab, which a 6-ft. tall operator can enter without bending thanks to an oversized door. It also boasts excellent forward visibility, with a windshield Cobham said is 30-35% larger than industry norms and a set-forward cab that allows for improved visibility of the ground directly in front of the unit.
“It’s all about the cab,” Cobham said of the new yard tractor. “The comment that’s made by operators is that this truck was designed by somebody who drivers a shunt truck.”
The cab is constructed by a company that supplies cabs to John Deere, and it goes through a 15-step e-coat paint process.
“In the past, after a few years a shunt truck was looking rough and rusty,” Cobham says. “This should keep the rust away and keep the equipment looking good. When an operator gets into a truck and the thing is covered in rust, he’s not going to treat the truck as well as if it looks good.”
DoT models come with a 200-hp Cummins ISB-10 engine while off-road versions are powered by a Cummins QSB engine. They engines produce 520 lb.-ft. of torque and are matched with a heavy-duty spec’ Allison transmission. The Xspotter cab is supported by an air-ride suspension with standard air-ride seat for a smooth ride.
The trucks have been equipped with a 44,000 BTU heater for winter operations and the cab features footwell vents to provide lower body warmth. Rear-facing LED lights provide excellent visibility during nighttime operations, the company says, and operators can check fluid levels from the ground without tilting the cab.
Cobham said the industry’s newest yard tractor is priced competitively with existing vehicles and they’re available now for sale or lease.