Thursday, May 9, 2013

Propane Autogas Steps up in Class; Two entries into medium-duty market adds to the alternative fuel options

Alternative fuels have traditionally filled their individual places in the trucking world. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) seems to work best in long-haul trucking operations; compressed natural gas (CNG) in shorter-haul operations. Hydrogen fuel is finding some success in port operation. And propane autogas has been relegated primarily to light duty vehicles and school buses.
“The truth of the matter is there is room for both CNG and propane applications,” Roy Willis, president & CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) told Fleet Owner. “The question is which one is right for which application?”
Propane autogas is best in fleet applications where there is a central refueling location. The fuel has found favor with local service fleets such as Sears and most recently satellite TV provider Dish Network, which will put into service 200 Roush CleanTech propane autogas-powered Ford E-250 vans this year.
Read more here.

Ed Garda of Powertrain Integration has some additional facts regarding the vehicles based on a Fleet Owner comment.

· The commenter is correct that the spark-ignited engines have less total torque output than a class 7 diesel. But maybe he misses the benefit of having nearly double the operating speed range. The Powertrain Integration team spent the last three years perfecting the 8.0L LPG engine. I can assure you that an 8.0L LPG-fueled vehicle, with a 500 lb-ft rating, can compete against an equivalent vehicle, carrying any load and in any condition, equipped with a Cummins ISB with 660 lb-ft of torque. Torque may get the truck going, but power gets you up the hill.

· PI worked extensively with Allison to optimize the engine’s breaking performance with their grade-braking feature. Our engine also features a higher compression ratio (9.6:1) than other spark engines, netting even greater braking performance. The commenter perhaps doesn’t realize that our package enjoys at least a 500 lb weight savings relative to the Cummins ISB, which makes the job of stopping the vehicle easier, as well as less tire and brake wear in general.

· Regarding the comment about transmissions, the 8.0L engine is available EXCLUSIVELY with the Allison 2350RDS and 2350PTS transmissions.

· Lastly, 100% of our durability work has been performed for a 33,000 lb GVWR. We ran fully loaded vehicles up the road to Davis Dam in Bullhead City, Arizona in 115 F degrees last summer with no problems. We’ve run back and forth across the Rockies from Denver to Utah and back. We’ve been to the tops of Pike’s Peak and Mt. Evans. We’ve pulled towing dynos all over Arizonain the middle of summer. Lastly, we are offering 100,000 mile warranties on our engine in any application.

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