Installations with WheelTime in Elk Run Heights, Iowa
As Firms Eye the Heavy & Severe Duty Vehicle Segment
American Power Group says it’s been selected by Harrison Truck Centers to provide its turbocharged dual fuel conversion gear for a new product launch by HTC – “filling the natural gas engine gap for 400- to 600-horsepower Class 8 trucks.”
HTC will install the APG kits in Elk Run Heights, Iowa in collaboration with WheelTime Network’s Interstate Power Systems, an established outlet for APG.
“Target markets will include heavy-haul on-highway glider kits and HTC’s first severe-duty dual fuel glider kits for the oil and gas, logging, and mining industries,” APG says, complementing existing dedicated-natural gas products from HTC.
A Glider Can Be Good
APG describes HTC as a full-service Freightliner/Western Star dealership, “and one of the industry leaders in the production of Freightliner glider kits.” The gliders are new trucks shipped without two of the three main driveline components – engine, transmission, or rear axle. Technically, and for tax purposes, they are parts, not vehicles.
The missing components can be installed by fleet owners using equipment they have on hand, or they may opt for engines converted to dual fuel operation by APG. APG claims “an industry leading 459 EPA engine family approvals covering a wide range of engine models that are eligible to be installed in glider kits.”
Freightliner 122SD to Start
“We now have a viable mainstream solution to address the underserved high horsepower natural gas engine market,” HTC president and CEO Brian Harrison says in an APG release. “With the exception of APG’s Dual Fuel solution, we have not found a natural gas engine solution above 400 horsepower that can meet the demands and power performance of heavy-haul and severe-duty vocational trucks, especially in extreme and severe operating environments.”
“We currently have two APG severe-duty glider trucks operating in some of the harshest oil and gas field environments in the U.S. and are experiencing great performance results and high up-time,” Harrison said.
“Our marketing launch will start this spring with a Freightliner 122SD Severe-Duty Dual Fuel Glider Kit being displayed at several national truck, oil and gas and alternative fuel vehicular conferences,” he said. “We expect dual fuel gliders will be rolling off the production line by early-summer.”
“We continue to see a strong interest in on-highway dual fuel glider kits across the U.S.” said APG CEO Lyle Jensen. “Today, the heavy-haul trucking industry does not have a viable natural gas engine option for the 400- to 600-horsepower Class 8 trucks.
Engine Cancellations Left ‘a Huge Gap’
“During 2014,” Jensen said, “several dedicated natural gas engine OEM’s cancelled or delayed their 13-liter and 15-liter natural gas engine development leaving a huge gap in the Class 8 natural gas engine coverage.”
(Cummins back-peddled on a long-awaited dedicated-natural gas engine version of its 15-liter ISX [F&F, January 7, 2014], and Volvo-Mack later delayed its compression-ignition D13 variant [F&F, October 3].)
‘Tens of Thousands’ of Heavy and Severe Duty Vehicles
The result? Heavy-haul fleet owners and natural gas suppliers who were counting on having larger powerful engines are showing more interest in dual fuel, Jensen says: “We are gaining more attention in this specific niche of natural gas engines as people discover APG’s ability to pull the heavier loads while maintaining diesel-like performance.”
“While the current annual on-highway glider market is reported to be in excess of 5,000 vehicles per year,” Jensen said, “the number of heavy-duty and severe-duty trucks in the oil and gas, logging and mining industries are estimated to total in the tens of thousands and represents a significant new addressed market segment.”
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Source: American Power Group with Fleets & Fuels follow-up