The Eco-future of Monster Jam
Monster Jam is eager to continue growing by reaching new audiences and embracing changes to truck technology that will help make the sport become more sustainable.
It should be no surprise that Monster Jam is experimenting with diesel engines, even though the process is taking longer than planned. Diesel fuel has the advantage of burning more efficiently than methanol (even though it has fallen largely out of favor in consumer vehicles) and it provides an experience similar to what the drivers are already used to [source: Easterly].
Monster Jam says that it can manage diesel's telltale smokiness, which is a concern during indoor performances, and even though diesel engines tend to lag a little on takeoff, that won't really affect the fans' experience. Todd LeDuc, driver of Mutant, says he's open to the switch to diesel if it improves the sport. Other drivers are more enthusiastic.
"I'm excited for it," says Mahon, driver of Whiplash. "I drive a diesel back home so that's my thing."
Electric technology will take a little longer, but is still very much in the cards. Bill Easterly, vice president of operations at Feld Motor Sports, says that Monster Jam has already talked to electric vehicle experts about the next generation of monster trucks.
"We know we have to make the adjustments so any of that is possible," he says. "It's not hard at all. We know it can be done."
Though the timeframe for EV rollout is uncertain, this initiative is largely underway due to Monster Jam's recent international expansion. The company wants to improve its green footprint and run its substantial fleet of vehicles more efficiently, but the plan is now gaining more traction in part because Monster Jam's international markets (the fans as well as the infrastructure that supports Monster Jam) want to know about green initiatives. In other words, if and when Monster Jam goes green, it'll be in response to fan demand [source: Easterly].
Author's Note: How Monster Jam Works
I've attended a few press junkets for car previews and reviews over the course of my career, but nothing quite like this, until now. When the invitation came in, I was initially skeptical that it would take a full weekend to become immersed in Monster Jam culture, but I was game. As it turns out, every moment, from the exclusive track access to the Q&A sessions to my few precious minutes sitting in the Scooby-Doo truck, I learned something new that I couldn't wait to share with readers. As a standard disclaimer for this type of thing, my behind-the-scenes access to Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas, including flight and accommodations, was arranged and provided by Monster Jam's public relations team (which happens to consist of some of the funniest women I have ever met).
More Great Links
- Allen, Dan. Senior Director of Track Construction, Feld Entertainment. Interview. March 23, 2018.
- Anderson, Ryan. Driver, Monster Jam. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Bialosky, Jeff. Vice President Licensing & Retail Development, Feld Entertainment. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Dahl, Timothy. "An Inside Look at Grave Digger, the Ultimate Monster Jam Truck." Popular Mechanics. March 2, 2016. (March 22, 2018.) https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/trucks/how-to/g2500/the-ultimate-monster-truck-take-an-inside-look-at-grave-digger/
- Dalsing, Jayme. Director of Operations, Monster Jam. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Easterly, Bill. Vice President of Operations, Feld Entertainment. Interview. March 23, 2018.
- Feld, Juliette. COO and Executive Vice President, Feld Entertainment. Interview. March 23, 2018.
- King, Alanis. "What It's Like To Drive A Truck From Monster Jam." Jalopnik. Feb. 23, 2018. (March 22, 2018.) https://jalopnik.com/what-its-like-to-drive-a-truck-from-monster-jam-1823272433
- LeDuc, Todd. Driver, Monster Jam. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Mahon, Brianna. Driver, Monster Jam. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Meents, Tom. Driver, Monster Jam. Interview. March 23, 2018.
- Menninga, Tyler. Driver, Monster Jam. Interview. March 24, 2018.
- Monster Jam. "Monster Jam 101." (March 22, 2018.) https://www.monsterjam.com/en-US/monster-jam-101-2
- Moran, Caitlin. "The History of Monster Trucks." The NewsWheel. Jan. 24, 2016 (May 10, 2018) http://thenewswheel.com/history-of-monster-trucks/