Foundation Coordinates Fleet NGV Needs with Manufacturers
Most natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S. are in medium- to-heavy-duty fleet vehicles such as refuse trucks, school buses, transit buses, and local delivery trucks. Medium-to heavy-duty vehicles tend to use liquid natural gas (LNG), and light-duty vehicles generally use compressed natural gas (CNG). While CNG takes more vehicle storage space on a vehicle, the ease of refueling with CNG makes it more appealing for users.
Council Advocates for NGV
Brian Pepper, senior program manager for Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco, serves as co-chair of the Utility and Public Fleet Council for the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, an NGV advocacy group. Even though it sounds as if the council is only open to utility and government fleets, the group also services corporate fleets, Pepper says.
The council’s main mission is to aggregate NGV demand to bring to auto manufacturers. For example, the council can provide data to a manufacturer that an NGV step van might be popular with utility, delivery, and bakery fleets. “We match customer interest, aggregate demand, and go to the manufacturers with this information,” Pepper says.
The Utility and Public Fleet Council uses online surveys to capture this fleet buyer data. The council also offers members a lifecycle analysis model with recommendations on operating particular NGVs for specific fleet applications.
Promoting the M2 Project
Another council priority is the M2 project, which seeks to build and place with fleet buyers medium-duty trucks manufactured by Freightliner. The trucks are powered by John Deere NGV engines.
The council has found some 300 possible buyers and is looking for the right upfitter to mass produce the vehicles. The council is promoting the program with manufacturers and fleets. Part of the appeal for fleets, Pepper says, is that tax credit programs available through various clean-air regulatory agencies make the M2 trucks very cost-effective for fleet buyers.