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Omaha’s Metropolitan Utility Likes CNG

April 20, 2012 in CNG, Fleet Order, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Omaha Utility Is Staunch NGV Proponent,
Will Help BAF Prove Out New F-150 Model

Omaha’s Metropolitan Utilities District will help BAF prove out Ford F-150 pickups converted to compressed natural gas – in expectation that Ford will release a gaseous-prep 3.7-liter engine late next year for 2014 vehicles. (Ford has not yet announced the engine.)

Two dozen F-150 trucks will be converted for the District with BAF taking warranty responsibility. Like BAF’s other pickups, they will have chassis-mounted CNG tanks, freeing up the entire truck bed for operator use. Type III CNG tanks from Italy’s Faber Industrie will hold 18 GGE-gasoline gallon equivalents.

More Than 100 District NGVs

The 24 dedicated-CNG F-150s will join a District fleet of more than 100 natural gas vehicles, including 80 Ford E-350 utility vans (by BAF), dedicated-CNG Honda Civic sedans, and seven high-use Freightliners.

The District has ordered three new 4×4 F-250 pickups too – one of which is the 20,000th NGV produced by BAF. District president Dog Clark – the new NGVAmerica chairman – took delivery in Dallas this past Thursday as BAF celebrated 20 years in the business and the opening of its new, 90,000-square foot facility there.

Omaha fueling station with public-access CNG is a partnership of the Metropolitan Utilities District and Happy Cab

One of the three BAF-converted, dedicated-CNG F-250s will go to the Metropolitan Community College, another Omaha-area NGV pioneer. Thus the District is in the process of ordering a fourth.

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, the District and partner Happy Cab offered CNG for just 99.9¢ per GGE. Two public access stations in Omaha have ANGI compression units with Gilbarco dispensers and TK-17 pistol-grip nozzles for the benefit of consumers. They were opened in mid-2011.

Ford E-350 van converted to dedicated CNG operation by BAF for Omaha's Municipal Utilities District

Omaha’s Happy Cab operates one of the two Omaha stations and converts Chevrolet Impala sedans to CNG at the facility using kits from Impco Automotive (formerly NaturalDrive; F&F, Oct. 25, 2010).

Happy Cab has 30 Impala CNG taxis now and by the end of June will have more than 50, says operations manager John Davis.

A new customer will be Nebraska’s Douglas County, which – at the District’s urging – has budgeted $60,000 for two natural gas fleet vehicles for the 2012/2013 fiscal year. If the two-vehicle pilot project is successful, the county may buy additional vehicles and set up CNG fueling at a county garage.

The District says that local fleet vehicles consumed more than 72,000 gasoline gallon equivalents of CNG last year, saving more than $110,000. Projected use this year is 182,000 GGE, saving $250,000.

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Posted in CNG, Fleet Order, NGVs.

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