By Bob Difley
Though this achievement doesn’t yet save you money or increase your miles per gallon, the fact that Freightliner has taken serious steps to reduce pollution and landfill waste in their manufacturing operations indicate where their collective heads are. The initiation of their Zero Waste to Landfill program as of May has achieved a 94.1% waste-free status. They expect to be 100% landfill waste-free by 2010.
They accomplished this by recycling plastic, paper, aluminum, cardboard, metals, wood, and nylon, as well as stopping air leaks, using power-saving methods, and reducing CO2 emissions and pollutants.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. is a division of Daimler Trucks North America and in addition to manufacturing delivery vans, school and shuttle busses, they also make motorhome chassis. Their alternatively fueled chassis include hybrid-electric, compressed natural gas, and hydraulic hybrid vehicles including ecoFRED, the first hybrid-electric Class A motorhome chassis that couples a diesel engine with an electric motor/generator and lithium-ion batteries.
Winnebago currently has a 35-foot Adventurer “concept hybrid” on an ecoFRED chassis touring the nation with Recreational Vehicle Industry Association spokespersons, Brad and Amy Herzog. This is not a stripped down model designed to achieve marketable statistics, but a fully-equipped, three-slide motorhome.
If this tour is successful, gaining acceptability and desire in the marketplace, you may see Winnebago as well as other manufacturers starting to produce efficient, higher mileage, reduced carbon footprint RVs. That would be good for the industry and good for acceptance by much of the the general public that sees RVs as gas guzzling behemoths. It would stimulate RV sales, bring in new environmentally sensitive buyers, and create some excitement for RV dealers. Not to mention being better for the environment.