A neat arrangement between a truck rental chain, a natural gas distributor and a fuelling system developer is making it possible for fleet owners to benefit from the low cost of natural gas without the high up-front cost of the equipment....
The first International truck Universal Truck Rental has equipped with the dual fuel system is now available for demonstrations.
A neat arrangement between a truck rental chain, a natural gas distributor and a fuelling system developer is making it possible for fleet owners to benefit from the low cost of natural gas without the high up-front cost of the equipment. Alternative Fuels, Alternative Solutions (AFAS) offers a dual-fuel management system that blends compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel to reduce the amount of diesel required. At highway speeds of 100 km/h, as much as 70% of the fuel consumed will be less-expensive CNG, according to Steve Baty, director of sales and marketing. It’s best suited for regional haul day cab applications where the truck returns regularly to a central fuelling site.
The AFAS retrofit kits can cost as much as $18-$20K, but Steve has worked out a deal with Chelsea Natural Gas, which will pay the up-front costs of the technology and then recoup it over a period of several years through a fuelling agreement with the end user. Customers will save on fuel from day one with no up-front expense, and pay back the cost of the technology through fuel supplier Chelsea Natural Gas. Chelsea is rolling out the CNG In a Box platform, which allows it to erect fuelling infrastructure pretty much anywhere there’s demand.
Customers will have to pay a slight premium on the natural gas purchased from Chelsea as they pay for the technology over time, but they are guaranteed savings over diesel from day one and can opt for a fixed or variable rate, indexed to the price of diesel. The third player in this partnership is Universal Truck Rental, which will be demonstrating the technology and making the trucks available for rent. Universal recently converted a 2007 International 8700 day cab to run the dual fuel system, and it will be letting fleets give it a try.
I asked Steve how much fleets can expect to save with a dual-fuel set-up, and he said under ideal conditions – a regional haul day cab running a return-to-base route – half the fuel consumed will be CNG. At current rates, this would translate into a 25 cent per litre savings for CNG, or an overall fuel savings of 9.9% (about $5,000 per truck each year based on 100,000 kms averaging 7 mpg). You can go here for more information about this interesting arrangement.
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