Thursday, February 14, 2013

When the tsunami came through...

...this little red truck was crossing the Cecelia Avenue Bridge.

It's a Haulzall Type 2, gets up to 95 miles to the gallon (gas prices are through the roof on New Island) and can easily cruise at 65 miles per hour. The Type 2 is a kind of Tuk Tuk, but with four wheels instead of three. It's built in Victoria Harbor, mostly of imported parts from Thailand, and uses a high-efficiency, very quiet, gas/biofuel engine designed by Arnold F. Partener, who moved here from New Zealand. Arnold had been tinkering with small engines all his life, but couldn't find backers in New Zealand or Australia (they couldn't believe his claims of efficiency). He moved here in 2002, set up a small plant in an long-abandoned whale-oil processing building in Victoria Harbor's Marketside District, hired a few semi-retired foundry specialists and machinists and set to work. (VH once was a ship repair center, and, before that, a whaling center run by the Russians. Many machinists stayed on after the Russians left in 1992.) 

The first trucks came on the market in 2009, and were an instant success! New Island was finally in the home-built transportation business, after years of importing. Haulzall is developing a Type 2 Electric model, but Partener's company, Nevermore Transport, is not yet happy with the cost, weight, and environmental risks of the battery.

Most trucks are meant for commercial use - very few are used privately. This one happens to be owned by Putney University.