PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, MI - Frito Lay has partnered with ROUSH CleanTech to develop a liquid propane autogas conversion system for Ford E-350 dual rear-wheel cutaway chassis vehicles. According to Frito Lay’s Joe Gold, fleet asset and engineering manager at Frito-Lay North America, the company sees a lot of potential for use of this conversion in its fleet.

“Based on the proposed project, this appears to be a viable solution to improve our cost per mile, as well as reduce our environmental footprint,” said Joe Gold, fleet asset and engineering manager at Frito-Lay North America. “If technically successful, and if the conversion economics continue to be favorable, there is potential within the Frito-Lay fleet to convert up to 2,000 gasoline-powered vehicles to propane autogas across the U.S. within the next several years.”

The E-350 DRW cutaway demonstration vehicle with this system will be based on the Ford 5.4 liter, 2-valve V-8 engine and planned for first quarter 2011 production, according to Frito Lay and ROUSH.

According to ROUSH, the company estimates that its ROUSH CleanTech liquid propane autogas Ford E-350 cutaway system can provide significant emissions reductions for two of the six criteria pollutants regulated under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. When compared to the emissions baseline of typical gasoline vehicles, the system will cut engine-out emissions for NOx by 50 percent and particulate matter by 25 percent. ROUSH said reduction estimates are based on recently-completed emissions testing at ROUSH CleanTech’s EPA-certified testing facility on similar Ford E-series vans that reported a 67 percent reduction in NOx and 50 percent reduction in particulate matter, with additional reductions in non-methane organic gases (25 percent).

Based on an average annual mileage of 20,000 miles for vehicles in the delivery and service industries, and an average fuel economy of 10.5 miles per gallon for a comparable gasoline vehicle, each propane autogas Ford E-350 vehicle is expected to displace almost 1,667 gallons of gasoline per year. Annually, a fleet of 1,225 vehicles would displace 2 million gallons of gasoline each year and 20 million gallons over a 10-year lifetime. ROUSH said it plans to make this system available to other commercial customers, and a company representative said it would be available sometime in the first quarter of this year.