76 CNG-Fueled ‘EcoCoach’ Vehicles and the Possibility of 84 More
Separately, New Jersey Natural Gas Is to Build Three CNG Stations
North Carolina-based DesignLine is supplying 76 of its CNG-fueled “EcoCoach” vehicles to New Jersey Transit, and may well sell more as the agency prepares a solicitation for an expected 84 additional vehicles.
DesignLine reported earlier this year that the 45-foot compressed natural gas coach bus has completed all phases of Federal Transit Administration testing in Altoona, Pa. and has been running in revenue service on NJ Transit routes. “NJ Transit has given DesignLine the notification to proceed with the manufacture of 76 buses, the total number identified in the contract,” the company said.
“This bus was designed and built to meet every challenge that might come its way on the road, and completing the grueling and comprehensive Altoona testing proves we succeeded in that effort,” DesignLine president Joseph Smith said in a release. “This bus has been put through every test possible and has performed extremely well.”
“When I ran buses in New York City for MTA, the ever-changing and high cost of fuel was a constant challenge,” Smith said. “The availability of an Altoona-tested CNG coach bus now allows transit systems and bus operators to reap the savings associated with the significantly lower cost of CNG fuel over diesel.”
The DesignLine buses have 8.9-liter ISL G engines from Cummins Westport, and Type III, carbon fiber-on-aluminum CNG fuel tanks. The tanks are placed in modules by Agility Fuel Systems in Anniston, Al. and shipped to DesignLine in Charlotte for installation.
FTA’s Altoona testing covers bus safety, structural integrity and durability, reliability, performance, maintainability, noise, fuel economy, brake, and emissions.
NJ Transit is preparing a solicitation for 84 more CNG buses, applying $46.3 million in FTA funding to replace 84 existing diesel vehicles with an average life of more than 12 years, and all with 500,000 miles of service.
The new buses will be based in the Howell Garage in Howell, N.J., in Freehold Township, near the Jersey Shore. Howell provides express bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan via the Route 9 corridor. It is the only one of NJ Transit’s bus garages with a CNG fueling station, an NJ Transit spokesman told F&F.
“We’re going to have 160 total” on CNG, the spokesman says.
Hosted Stations for New Jersey Natural Gas
Separately, New Jersey Natural Gas said this week that it has agreements with three host facilities, and will spend between $6 million and $8 million to build the first public access CNG fueling stations in Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The hosts are Waste Management in Toms River (Ocean County) and the Middletown Department of Public Works in Monmouth County. A beverage distribution company in Monmouth County will also host a new CNG station.
NJNG says it will “install, own and maintain the CNG infrastructure, and each host facility will be required to initially use at least 20% of the fueling capacity and make the stations open to the public. All three will have fast-fill capability.
“This investment will help stimulate New Jersey’s market for CNG vehicles, while also providing economic and environmental benefits,” states a release.
Only Five Public-Access CNG Stations in New Jersey Now
Specifications and design are to be finalized within the next 90 days. NJNG says it “expects construction of the stations to be completed by the end of 2013.”
The three new CNG stations are part of NJNG’s pilot program, approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2012, to increase accessibility to the clean domestic fuel. NJNG can invest up to $10 million to build up to five CNG fueling stations at host facilities throughout its service territory. “This investment enables the host sites to benefit from CNG without the upfront costs of building a station, while realizing an accelerated payback on the incremental costs of acquiring CNG vehicles.”
Currently, NJNG says, there are only five CNG fueling stations open to the public in New Jersey.
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Source: DesignLine and NJNG with Fleets & Fuels follow-up