Clean Energy Fuels Targets One-Year Payback with GE Capital,
Separately Supports Lowe’s-NFI Transition to LNG Truck Fleet
Busy Clean Energy Fuels has a pact with GE Capital’s transportation finance arm to help pay for natural gas vehicle fleet deployments, and separately reports a contract with Lowe’s and NFI to supply the retailer’s over-the-road trucks with liquefied natural gas fuel. this item was initially posted on October 28
“We’re breaking down the barriers to entry that may have prevented some fleet owners from making the transition to natural gas,” Clean Energy president and CEO Andrew Littlefair said in a release. “Our goal is to work with fleet operators to achieve a one-year payback on the incremental cost of natural gas heavy-duty trucks.”
“We think this alliance will help to open up the natural gas market for long-haul operators,” GE Capital’s transportation finance president and GM Dan Clark says in a Clean Energy release. “The alliance will support the parties’ mutual goal of reducing the financial impact of transitioning to natural gas and lowering the industry’s environmental footprint.”
‘A Natural Step’
Lowe’s, for its part, calls the transition to natural gas “a natural step.” The retailer says it began using natural gas trucks last year at its distribution center in Kissimmee, Fla., and has teamed with longtime carrier partner NFI to launch a dedicated natural gas fleet in Texas – “among the first serving a major retail distribution center in North America to run solely on natural gas.”
“Our goal is to replace all of our diesel-powered dedicated fleets with natural gas trucks by the end of 2017,” Lowe’s transportation VP Steve Palmer said in his firm’s announcement.
“The transition to an NG-powered fleet was a natural step,” Palmer said, “because of the economic and environmental benefits.”
“Given the amount of natural gas that’s available domestically, broadly utilizing natural gas will give us an opportunity to better control our transportation fuel costs in the coming years.”
Opening an LNG Station in Texas
Lowe’s said it expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nearly 20% and control fuel costs as it transports up to 68 truckloads each day to stores in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
NFI is deploying 17 Peterbilt 384 day cab tractors with the 400-horsepower version of the new 11.9-liter ISX12 G engines from Cummins Westport at the Lowe’s RDC (regional distribution center) in Mount Vernon, Texas.
Clean Energy will support the Lowe’s-NFI fleet in Texas by opening a natural gas station in Sulphur Springs.
“This is a great model for America – a collaboration between one of the country’s largest shippers and a forward-looking fleet using a fuel that is not only economical but better for the air we breathe,” Clean Energy chief marketing officer Jim Harger says in the Lowe’s announcement.
“We started on this journey approximately three years ago, and this was the perfect scenario to roll out our first natural gas fleet,” said Ike Brown, NFI vice chairman and owner.
Buy Our Fuel, Get a Deal
NFI, Lowe’s notes, boasts a fleet of more than 2,000 tractors and 7,000 trailers, operated by more than 2,500 company drivers and 250 owner-operators.
Clean Energy’s new agreement with GE Capital builds on previous agreements whereby GE equipment would be used to make LNG to supply Clean Energy stations (F&F, November 13, 2012).
“To take advantage of this opportunity,” Clean Energy (NASDAQ:CLNE) says, “truck fleet operators will first work with Clean Energy to develop natural gas fueling contracts, and will then apply for loans and leases, including fair market value leases, from GE Capital to acquire trucks.”
“Clean Energy will then help offset the monthly cost of newly-acquired NGVs to make it consistent with the cost of a diesel truck, if the customer makes a fuel commitment.”
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Source: Clean Energy Fuels with Fleets & Fuels follow-up