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You like our Euro cargo vans? Then why the heart transplant?

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Tim Campbell, an automotive pundit from the UK, claims he foresaw the arrival of European-style cargo-carrying vans on North American shores.


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Tim Campbell, an automotive pundit from the UK, claims he foresaw the arrival of European-style cargo-carrying vans on North American shores.

Now that he’s been proven right and they’ve arrived here, he is asking: “Why the heart transplant?”

An influx of new cargo-carrying vans in North America is a reality, but Campbell said during a diatribe at the Green Truck Summit that North Americans dropped the ball by insisting on gasoline engines.

“I see a helluva lot of vans here now,” he said, after touring the Work Truck Show floor. “But for some reason, the heart gets taken out of them as they leave our shores for here.”

Campbell criticized North American commercial vehicle buyers and manufacturers for replacing efficient diesel engines with gasoline counterparts. He then gave examples of how stupid we are.

One cargo van, imported from the UK, had its efficient 3L 177-hp diesel engine replaced with a 3.6L V6 gasoline engine with 280 hp, with a net range loss of nearly 200 miles per fill-up. In another example, a 1.5L diesel was replaced with a 2L gas engine, providing a 68% loss in efficiency.

In yet another, a 1.8L diesel was replaced with a 2L gasoline engine when imported into North America, resulting in a 58% loss in efficiency.

“You tell me where the logic is,” Campbell implored. Adding insult to injury, he pointed out the European diesels get 20% better torque while consuming less fuel.

His advice? “Go to the manufacturers and say ‘Put out those European diesels, please’,” he advised. “What’s stopping you?”

Campbell surmised the manufacturers feel North American consumers simply don’t want the small European diesel engines in their cargo vans. But, consider this, he added: A fleet of 10 identical vans kept over a 10-year period – one fleet with diesel engines and the other with gas – would yield a $53,000 difference in fuel consumption, with the diesel-powered fleet coming out on top.

“To me, it stacks up,” said Campbell.


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