Clean Energy Will Front the Incremental Cost of Natural Gas Trucks
As Part of New Pact with Navistar for ‘Commercially Viable Solution’
Navistar and Clean Energy Fuels have launched “a comprehensive natural gas strategy” designed to bring more options to operators who will buy fuel from Clean Energy, including fuel from the firm’s vaunted new network of truck stop outlets. The program “will provide customers with a sustainable, commercially viable solution for adding natural gas powered trucks to their fleets,” Navistar says.
The once-skeptical manufacturer has further pledged to bring the industry’s “broadest” range of natural gas-fueled Class 6-8 trucks to market. Notably, Navistar will employ engines and technology from Clean Air Power, Cummins Westport, and Emission Solutions, Inc. (ESI).
‘Subsidies and Incentives Not Required’
“Clean Energy will guarantee fuel prices at a significant reduction from diesel for the term of five years,” Navistar says: “government subsidies and incentives not required to make the economic model work.”
Clean Energy will cover the incremental cost of the trucks to be paid back as operators fuel at Clean Energy stations.
“You get the same lease cost of a diesel truck and get fuel savings too,” says Jim Harger of Clean Energy. The price spread between diesel and natural gas makes it possible. “There’s more than enough to cover the finance cost and put money in your pocket,” he told F&F. And if the price spread shrinks over the coming five years? “I’m taking the risk,” Harger says.
[Harger also told fleets and fuels that while liquefied natural gas is the primary fuel for the new trucks stop network – 70 stations to be built this year and 80 in 2013, mostly at Pilot Flying J locations – compressed natural gas has a role too. All of the stations are being built according to a common design with provision for power and plumbing and dispenser space for CNG when demand warrants, he says. Once Clean Energy sees volume of 10,000 gallons per month, it will add the LCNG equipment.]
More Engines from ESI, Too
“Navistar and Clean Energy have come up with a breakthrough program that offers customers a quicker payback on their investment plus added fuel costs savings from day one of operation,” Navistar chairman, president and CEO Dan Ustian said in a release. “Together, the companies will demonstrate how a natural gas integrated vehicle offering with the right distribution and fueling solution can be integrated into a fleet’s operations to reduce costs and drive efficiencies,” the announcement states, “neutralizing the cost difference for the diesel fuel equivalent for those who purchase at least 1,000 diesel gallon equivalents of natural gas fuel each month.”
Navistar says it will leverage “existing integrated vehicle and powertrain platforms [and] offer the broadest range of Class 6 through Class 8 CNG-/LNG-powered vehicles in the category.” The company will continue to offer International DuraStar and WorkStar vocational trucks with its natural gas-powered, 7.6-liter spark-ignition MaxxForce DT, developed with ESI. ESI, meanwhile, advises that it’s stepping up its work on a new 9.3-liter product, and is close to an agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to get going on a spark-ignition variant of Navistar’s 13-liter Big Bore diesel. “A lot of their senior management wants them to go dedicated,” says ESI president Jim Moore.
Nearer term, Navistar says it will enter into a Phase II developmental agreement with Clean Air Power for LNG-fueled ProStar, WorkStar and PayStar vocational trucks powered by diesel pilot injection – dual fuel – MaxxForce 13-liter engines.
For the regional haul and Class 7 and Class 8 vocational market, Navistar will offer its International TranStar and WorkStar trucks with the 8.9-liter spark ignition Cummins Westport ISL G.
“One of the major obstacles in customer transition to natural gas has been the lack of a gas powered range of engines designed to meet the multiple requirements without compromise,” senior VP for North America sales operations Jim Hebe, Navistar said in his company’s announcement. “Navistar,” Hebe said, with an extended range of truck engines, “is uniquely able to leverage engine platforms into the industry’s broadest range of natural gas trucks.
“When the MaxxForce 13L is introduced in mid-2013, customers will have a capable range of natural engines and trucks, from 7.6 liter to 13 liter with horsepower ranging from 200 to 450.”
Navistar Vows to Meet 2010 NOx In-Engine
Navistar has applied to the U.S. EPA for approval of its design for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation system to achieve 0.2 grams NOx emissions – meaning Navistar diesel engines won’t need Selective Catalytic Reduction. “We are the only manufacturer in the world who’s going to have a 0.2 gram NOx engine — out of the engine, engine out alone,” company chairman, president and CEO Dan Ustian told analysts. “We will have lower N20 levels than any SCR engine,” he said.
“While the EPA is processing this submission, Navistar will continue to build engines with credits we’ve earned by producing and selling cleaner engines in advance of the regulation requirements,” states a company release.
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