Commitment Deepens with a Dozen TruStar Fueling Stations
And 380 New CNG-Fueled Kenworth T680 Tractors for Fleet
UPS is deepening its commitment to natural gas as a vehicle fuel, announcing an investment of $100 million in 380 new CNG-fueled Kenworth T680 tractors and 12 new CNG fueling facilities, by TruStar Energy.
The new Kenworth tractors will have CNG fuel cylinder assemblies from Agility Fuel Systems and Quantum. Agility says it has an initial order for 135 units and expects to supply back-of-cab assemblies based on the 160-DGE/diesel gallon equivalent unit just unveiled at ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council meeting in Nashville (F&F, February 29).
“At UPS, we own our fleet and our infrastructure. That allows us to invest for the long-term, rather than planning around near-term fluctuations in fuel pricing,” UPS senior VP for global engineering and sustainability Mark Wallace says in today’s release.
Four of the 12 Are in Texas
“CNG is part of a broad investment in a variety of alternative fuel vehicles. Taken together, all of our alternative fuel vehicles represent 6% of the more than 100,000 UPS global fleet,” Wallace said, “and have driven a 10% annual reduction in use of conventional fuel.”
The new locations are
- Columbia, S.C.,
- El Paso,
- Fort Worth,
- Kansas City, Kans.,
- San Antonio,
- Tifton, Ga.,
- Trinidad, Colo., and
- Willow Grove, Pa.
The new investment builds on the 18 existing UPS CNG fueling stations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. UPS also operates CNG vehicles in Germany, the Netherlands and Thailand.
The choice of compressed natural gas over liquefied natural gas is a function of location and utility availability, says procurement chief Mike Casteel. UPS’s earlier LNG facilities were located near peak-shaving plants where fuel could readily be trucked in. The new TruStar CNG stations are located where there is pipeline proximity.
The ‘Rolling Laboratory’
“It’s not a geographical thing as much as utility availability,” Casteel says, and access to “economically available fuel.”
The new fueling outlets will be for UPS vehicles only, and according to Casteel they will be kept busy: “We’re going to put enough trucks at all of these sites to fully utilize these assets,” he told F&F.
UPS is working to meet its goal of logging one billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017, using a “Rolling Laboratory approach to determine the right alternative fuel solutions to meet the unique needs of route-specific driving environments.”
“The 700 mile range fuel systems will be delivered out of Agility’s new world-class manufacturing facility in Salisbury, North Carolina,” Agility CEO Kathleen Ligocki told F&F via email.
“This innovative behind-the-cab CNG fuel system delivers market-leading packaging efficiency by fitting up to six inches closer to the cab for improved aerodynamics and leaving more available rail space for transporting freight,” she said.
The fuel system is built with an aircraft-grade aluminum structure mounted on rubber isolators to reduce stress on components ensuring maximum durability, the company notes.
‘UPS Has Led the Industry’
Four Hexagon Composites cylinders are carbon fiber-wrapped and neck-mounted with anti-spin design to eliminate tank rotation that can stress fuel lines, Agility says. The pre-treated aluminum covers are painted at Agility’s automated state-of-the-art paint facility to provide a world-class automotive grade finish.
“UPS has led the industry in the adoption of natural gas in heavy duty on-road trucking and, with this new order, will be operating over 1,700 heavy duty trucks equipped with Agility natural gas fuel systems,” Ligocki says.
“We are proud to collaborate with UPS.”
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Source: UPS with Fleets & Fuels follow-up